JIS News

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  • Medical Entomologist and National Programme Manager, Vector Control, in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Sherine Huntley Jones, is encouraging householders to remain vigilant in the fight against dengue, even as the country continues to deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • In an interview with JIS News, she explained that although much of the focus is currently on preventing the spread of COVID-19, it is important for persons to remember that the country is still dealing with a dengue outbreak.
  • “We are still encouraging persons to continue the search and destroy activities that they would have been engaged in at the height of the dengue outbreak, such as continuing to look for the breeding sites of the Aedes aegypti mosquito,” she added.

Medical Entomologist and National Programme Manager, Vector Control, in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Sherine Huntley Jones, is encouraging householders to remain vigilant in the fight against dengue, even as the country continues to deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19).

In an interview with JIS News, she explained that although much of the focus is currently on preventing the spread of COVID-19, it is important for persons to remember that the country is still dealing with a dengue outbreak.

“We are still encouraging persons to continue the search and destroy activities that they would have been engaged in at the height of the dengue outbreak, such as continuing to look for the breeding sites of the Aedes aegypti mosquito,” she added.

The Medical Entomologist pointed out that the time is opportune for persons who have hunkered down at home to deal with COVID-19 to search for the breeding sites in and around the home.

She noted that the vector control team is persuading persons to not ignore the breeding sites at this time, as this will facilitate a surge in the mosquito population, which could possibly cause another dengue outbreak further in the year.

Mrs. Huntley Jones is also reminding persons that there are contributing factors that will lead to an increase in the mosquito population.

The first, she said, is rainfall, which will give rise to breeding sites through the storage of water.

More importantly, she added, temperatures are increasing and this, coupled with rainfall, will also have a significant impact.

“We are now entering the warmer months and we are going to see a significant rise in the vector population, and with that rise, an increase in the risk of transmission,” she warned.

Mrs. Huntley Jones pointed out that Zika and chikungunya are still endemic and as such, the population will be at increased risk for all three diseases.

She said it is imperative to learn from the previous year’s experience where there was a dip in dengue cases between March and May, which was followed by an upsurge between June and September.

Mrs. Huntley Jones said the Ministry will be continuing the employment of more than 1,000 temporary vector-control workers in the mosquito search and destroy effort and that they will be engaged for at least the next six months. Scheduled fogging activities will also continue. “The Ministry has not declared the outbreak over, so we are continuing full force with the dengue response and we invite the public to continue to do the same thing,” she appealed.

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