Mon | Sep 20, 2021

St James mosquito Aedes index down for November

Published:Tuesday | December 15, 2020 | 12:13 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
Sherika Lewis, the acting chief public health inspector for St James.
Sherika Lewis, the acting chief public health inspector for St James.
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are the vectors of dengue fever.
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are the vectors of dengue fever.


Following St James record high mosquito Aedes index of 25.6 per cent in October, the St James Health Department is reporting that the index has reduced significantly to 18.2 per cent in November, which is in keeping with the parish’s constantly shifting Aedes numbers since January.

Sherika Lewis, the acting public health inspector for St James, gave the latest Aedes figures while addressing last Thursday’s monthly sitting of the St James Municipal Corporation, in Montego Bay. She also noted that more premises were inspected across the parish last month than in October.

“With the commencement of the task-worker programme on October 27, we have managed for the month of November to inspect a total of 18,000 premises, with 3,000 of them positive for mosquito breeding, which brings our Aedes index to approximately 18.2 per cent,” Lewis told the meeting.

“Due to the culmination of the task-worker programme [on October 2], we were able for the month of October to inspect a total of 1,705 premises. When we commenced the programme, we were able to achieve 10 times as many premises in November when compared to the month of October,” the health inspector added.

November’s latest mosquito Aedes numbers, which outline the local geographical spread of dengue fever, are indicative of the parish’s index shifting up and down since January, when it was recorded at seven per cent before climbing to 9.8 per cent in February. Following May’s record low of 6.2 per cent, the index climbed to 11.5 per cent in August and then to 13.2 per cent in September.

Lewis noted that 6,000 out of 60,000 water containers tested at different premises during November were found to be positive mosquito breeding sites, with some homes having three or more large containers.

“For the containers that were inspected, we have seen that for each premises, they would have at least three containers. We want to recommend to householders to try, as best as possible, to reduce the number of containers on the premises,” said Lewis.

“Sometimes these containers are half full, so it is best to pour the water into other containers, and discard or store the unused containers appropriately.”

The St James Health Department’s vector task-worker programme, which includes 94 workers, is slated to continue into January 2021, with the aim of further controlling the local mosquito population.

The municipal authorities have constantly expressed fear of having a dengue outbreak alongside the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has been having a noticeable impact on the parish, which has seen a number of community designated as hotspots.