JIS News

The Ministry of Health is currently implementing eradication measures, aimed at controlling the population of mosquitoes. Fogging, which is directed at the adult mosquitoes, has commenced in most parishes, in addition to vector control teams carrying out larvicidal activities, among other interventions, in order to eradicate them in the aquatic stage of development.
Sherrine Huntley, Medical Entomologist in the Ministry of Health, with responsibility for vector control across the island, told JIS News that the mosquito population has increased due to the frequency of heavy rains, which has resulted in water settling in areas across the island that in turn, foster the breeding of mosquitoes.
In addition, the passage of Hurricane Ivan and the subsequent disconnection of the water supply that forced persons to store water, has created a lot of habitats to facilitate further breeding.
“The fact of the matter is there are a lot of breeding sites. sites that we will not get to, sites that we cannot even identify. The mosquitoes will breed in rock holes, axils of plants. anywhere that is able to collect water they will breed,” she explained.
As a response to the invasion of mosquitoes, the Ministry dispatched parish vector control teams in the field to conduct assessments and surveys of their respective parishes, in order to determine the location of the most problematic areas.
“This will mean targeting those areas that currently have mosquitoes breeding, especially in Clarendon, Manchester, St. Elizabeth – the parishes that were hardest hit during the hurricane,” Miss Huntley said. To date, assessments of all parishes have been completed, and the Ministry is aware of the problematic areas, hence the implementation of the intervention measures.
In the meantime, Miss Huntley said members of the public could employ measures to protect themselves against mosquito bites. Persons are advised to invest in repellants, and use them particularly between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. This is in addition to using mosquito coils and insect sprays.
“Do not go out sleeveless, especially if you live in an area with a high level of mosquito infestation. Dress in long pants and cover your skin,” she advised.
“Remember, during this time when there is a lot of water, and a lot of possibility for breeding, mosquitoes are going to be out there, so you have to protect yourself and assist the vector control team,” she added.
Miss Huntley also suggested that persons consider installing window screens, as well as explore the possibility of sleeping under mosquito nets to protect themselves.
As for large bodies of stagnant water in communities, she is encouraging persons to pour kerosene oil or gas oil in them, if there is evidence of breeding.
When pouring the petroleum product in the pool of water, ensure that the entire surface is covered with it. The oil will subsequently create a phlegm on top of the water, which will cut off the air supply, thereby suffocating the mosquito larvae.
Persons are also reminded to remove all unwanted containers – tins, bottles and all the household items around the home that can collect water. These items will serve as major breeding sites for mosquitoes.

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