500,000 premises in western region inspected for mosquito breeding site
Regional Vector Control Officer at the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) Ryan Morris says more than 500,000 premises have been inspected for mosquito breeding sites in the health region since the July 1 activation of the enhanced vector-control programme.
In an interview with JIS News, Morris credits this success to the aggressive vector-control efforts by workers in Westmoreland, St James, Trelawny and Hanover.
He said that the engagement of temporary vector-control workers to support permanent staff has helped to cover more areas in each parish.
“The enhanced vector-control programme is something that the region had been dying for. Our staff population increased by over 300 persons, which extended our reach,” he noted.
In addition, Morris said that the region’s Aedes Index, which is a profile of mosquito prevalence, has been reduced from 24.25 per cent to 6.5 per cent at the end of December 2019.
“Parishes were above 15 per cent. St. James was in the 20s, so too Westmoreland and Trelawny, while Hanover was in the lower teens, but accumulatively, that would have brought us to 24.25,” he noted.
The Regional Vector Control Officer told JIS News that despite the strides made in eradicating mosquito breeding sites, the WRHA will continue to step up its vector-control strategies in the fight against dengue fever.
“We have ramped up adulticidal activities, what we refer to as fogging – seven days per week, morning and afternoon. We are able to do more communities in a shorter period of time. We want to do a two-pronged approach involving larvicidal and adulticidal [activities]. Larvicidal is source reduction that cannot be done by vector-control workers alone,” he pointed out.
Morris said that residents have a personal responsibility to reduce the breeding of mosquitoes.
“We, as a population… can’t go and think that yes, we are getting it done. A small amount of Aedes mosquito can cause a large outbreak. What we need here is partnership. We (WRHA) can’t do it by ourselves,” he noted.
“We are out there doing our outreach activity in town centres trying to educate persons, trying to change behaviour. We are seeing positive strides, but there are still persons who don’t seem to be connecting the dots,” he pointed out.
Morris called for operators of tyre shops to adopt proper storage practices in order to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes.