Keep up the fight against mosquito breeding
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I am inclined to think that all is well that ends well with the dengue outbreak, although I have not heard any convincing announcement that the Ministry of Health has eliminated it.
Earlier, the ministry announced that they had detected 511 breeding sites of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. It was later reported by the minister of health that over 2,000 cases of dengue were treated in a western parish.
They visited many of the 511 sites, and in one small yard, they detected 18 sites, including a vase in a living room containing larvae. An old lady was sitting on her porch busily clapping at mosquitoes which were bent on attacking her. It has been reported by the ministry that, fortunately, some people bitten by the Aedes aegypti do not develop the symptoms of dengue.
Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton rightly declared that all Jamaicans ought to be responsible for keeping their surroundings clean. Citizens should ensure that there are no containers of water lying about their yards. A pair of old rubber boots containing larvae was found in a yard. Not much effort is required except a machete and hammer or a length of iron pipe to demolish a discarded stove, refrigerator, or washing machine, or old motor tyre. In fact, solid waste must be secured against the breeding of mosquitoes by covering with an affordable tarpaulin until it can be conveniently removed.
There has been much talk about the resistance of the Aedes aegypti to expensive oil and sprays. Surprisingly, I have not heard of the effective and cheap use of gas oil to clean and control breeding sites. Gas oil is supposed to be non-flammable in water and is, therefore, safe to use in drains and large areas of stagnant water.
It does not seem as if the health ministry is doing enough research. A United States company has produced a mosquito trap which it claims to be 100 per cent effective. At present, Hardware & Lumber is the sole distributor in Jamaica. Another company in Guyana, if I am not mistaken, has developed a holistic spray from certain plants which the company claims is almost 100 per cent effective.
It is of vital importance that the health ministry ensures that the eradication of the Aedes aegypti is not a seasonal affair but a sustainable and continuous undertaking throughout each year.
OREN O. COUSINS