JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Vector Control Officer at the St. Elizabeth Health Department, Michael Myles, says there is a need to clarify the raft of misconceptions surrounding the spread of vector-borne diseases in Jamaica.
  • Speaking at the 73rd annual Jamaica Association of Public Health Inspectors (JAPHI) Educational Conference, at the Grand Palladium Resort in Hanover on October 23, Mr. Myles said “there is a barrier of disbelief” regarding mosquito-borne illnesses, in relation to various strains, common breeding grounds, transmission means and the disease, that needs to be addressed.
  • He said climate change and global travel are impacting the spread of pathogens, making the transmission season longer or more intense as well as causing diseases to emerge in countries where they were previously unknown.

Vector Control Officer at the St. Elizabeth Health Department, Michael Myles, says there is a need to clarify the raft of misconceptions surrounding the spread of vector-borne diseases in Jamaica.

Speaking at the 73rd annual Jamaica Association of Public Health Inspectors (JAPHI) Educational Conference, at the Grand Palladium Resort in Hanover on October 23, Mr. Myles said “there is a barrier of disbelief” regarding mosquito-borne illnesses, in relation to various strains, common breeding grounds, transmission means and the disease, that needs to be addressed.

He said climate change and global travel are impacting the spread of pathogens, making the transmission season longer or more intense as well as causing diseases to emerge in countries where they were previously unknown.

However, Mr. Myles pointed out that residents are resisting that information.

“There are changes to vector-borne pathogens and yet the mosquito remains the main transmitter. This host of information is sometimes confusing to residents. The various diseases each year presented to them and that the mosquito transmits these diseases creates a barrier for persons to believe us,” he said.

“We have to find a way to provide information to persons so that they can understand that mosquitoes [are the transmitters] and to break that barrier of disbelief in the population,” Mr. Myles added.

He was presenting on the topic ‘The Changing Face of Vector Control: New Threats, New Techniques and New Strategies’.

In the meantime, Mr. Myles noted that there is a need for novel technology to mitigate the dangers of dengue and other vector-borne diseases.

He argued that with the adaptation of pathogens, greater care and innovation need to be employed in vector-control efforts.

“The mosquitoes are adapting and our [vector] control measures will become more difficult to manage, if we do not understand what is happening in the environment. Climate change, in terms of temperature and lower precipitation… affects the population of the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes,” he informed.

Mr. Myles said the Ministry of Health and Wellness will continue to do the necessary foundation work to fight the spread of dengue and other vector-borne illnesses.

The three-day educational conference, which ends today (October 24), is being held under the theme ‘Contemporary Environmental Health Challenges: Innovative Strategies for Solutions’.

It seeks to explore best practices in public health; trade facilitation and food safety; and the changing face of vector control.