Sat | Aug 19, 2017

A note on these vectors

Published:Wednesday | October 21, 2015 | 10:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I write in response to the Letter of the Day in The Gleaner of Friday, October 16, 2015.

One of the methods of pre-venting or controlling transmission of vector-borne diseases is to eliminate the chances of these vectors becoming infected with the particular diseases. This is done largely by screening visitors to the country. The vectors can only be infected by taking a meal from an infective individual (human/

animal). Vectors that are not infected cannot be infective and, therefore, are a mere biting nuisance.

Some species of mosquitoes breed in floodwaters, including polluted waters; the Culex species are noted for this.

The Aedes aegypti is a species that deposits its eggs in clean water in containers around the home. They may also lay eggs in coconut shells, rock holes, etc. This species also has a strong liking for dark containers; they love motor vehicle tyres and, as a result, the eggs are imported/exported into countries that trade in used tyres. The Aedes aegypti mosquitoes lay their eggs in water and above the waterline in containers in anticipation that the water level will rise - survival of the species.

EASILY DISTINGUISHED

At this moment in time in Jamaica, the Aedes aegypti is much more than a biting nuisance; it must be considered a vector of public health significance. This mosquito is easily distinguished from the mosquitoes seen on television.

Of course, mosquito populations can be and should be controlled, even if the insects are mere biting nuisance. It should be borne in mind that humans, despite their best efforts, have never made one species of insect extinct. It will always be an ongoing exercise to keep these insects at tolerable levels.

I think the Ministry of Health is correct this time in claiming the mosquitoes seen on television are mere biting nuisance.

The Culex species can be vectors of some of the diseases listed by the letter-writing doctor, but of course, these mosquitoes are not infected. Perhaps the doctor is a physician which puts him/her on the curative side of medicine and he/she is not too conversant with preventive medicine.

R. Peart