Sat | Jun 6, 2020

Rats, mosquitoes still on St James' radar

Published:Friday | April 10, 2020 | 12:06 AM

Christopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

The St James Health Department is pressing ahead with its dengue eradication and rodent-control exercises.

Lennox Wallace, the health department’s parish manager, said that these programmes must continue despite the COVID-19 outbreak, which has accounted for 63 infections and four deaths locally.

“All programmes in the Ministry of Health continue, so we have shared responsibilities even though COVID-19 is now topical," Wallace told The Gleaner.

"The vector-control programme goes on in earnest as it will finish and then restart on April 17, and we’re going to visit various establishments to ensure that the rodent control does not get out of hand.”

The parish manager heaped praise on the 104 temporary workers who have bolstered the corps of 11 permanent workers.

The health department’s crackdown on dengue in St James received strong backing from Montego Bay Mayor Homer Davis, who warned that dengue and COVID-19 could present a double blow to the parish.

At that time, Davis urged residents of St James to be more proactive in managing their communities’ mosquito-control activities after the health department reported that the parish’s Aedes index had increased to 9.8 per cent in February, up from seven per cent the previous month.

Wallace vowed to keep his department proactive in its baiting exercises and control of potential breeding sites for rats.

“Yesterday (Monday), we did some baiting in Freeport and sections of Ironshore based on our own sightings and the complaints we received," the parish manager said.

"If there are sightings of rats in the town of Montego Bay, I’ll ask our officers to drive around and look for any breeding sites, and we’ll take care of them.”