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Health ministry to take on massive mosquito problem

Published:Wednesday | October 14, 2015 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter

THE MINISTRY of Health has vowed to tackle the increase in mosquito population across all parishes, with special focus on schools.

Residents are being urged to contact the health department in their parish to report any area that is in need of fogging.

Yesterday, Opposition spokesperson on health and healthy lifestyle, Senator Marlene Malahoo Forte, called on Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson to act decisively in leading a comprehensive vector-control programme islandwide.

She said the minister should take the lead in engaging other entities such as the Ministry of Local Government, the National Solid Waste Management Authority, parish councils and civil society to fight the "waves of mosquitoes now shrouding communities across the island".

"There is a serious public health problem looming. With the recent rains, mosquitoes are swarming many communities. The minister cannot allow himself to fall asleep, resulting in a tardy response to the problem," Malahoo Forte declared.

Yesterday, the ministry advised residents to take steps to protect themselves and their homes from mosquitoes. Chief Medical Officer Dr Marion Bullock DuCasse said persons can protect themselves by putting mesh on doors and windows, using insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved clothing and using insecticides to kill adult mosquitoes.


Aedes aegypti

"The ministry has been taking steps and urges persons to play their part to reduce the entire mosquito population, including those that spread diseases such as the Aedes aegypti and those that do not," cautioned Bullock DuCasse.

She explained that the "population of mosquitoes that are now causing concern for many citizens has increased because these types lay their eggs in the soil during the dry period and once it rains these eggs hatch. These do not generally spread diseases but can cause discomfort."

The senior health official pointed out that since these mosquitoes are mostly active at dusk and dawn (5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., and 5:30 a.m., to 7:30 a.m.) persons should avoid outdoor activities and keep houses locked up during this time. She said, however, that they would feed at other times of the day but for the most part would be resting.

"When spraying with insecticides, persons should also focus on vegetation around their homes as this is included in the areas where these mosquitoes generally rest during the daytime. Persons should also cut overgrown vegetation," she advised.