KINGSTON, Sept. 23 (JIS):
Health officials have commenced a number of source reduction measures, including the oiling or draining of large pools of water, to reduce breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Peter Knight, Director of Environmental Health in the Ministry of Health, told JIS News that monitoring officers have been covering the island, targeting areas where the population density was high.
Additionally, where a significant number of adult mosquitoes are present, a programme of fogging has been implemented. So far, fogging has commenced in areas such as Ocho Rios and Discovery Bay in St. Ann, Portmore and other areas in St. Catherine, St. Elizabeth and Clarendon.
“We have to use a two-prong attack to seriously reduce the number of adult mosquitoes,” he pointed out.
Householders, he noted, also had an important role to play in curtailing the rapid increase in the population of insects and rodents associated with conditions stemming from a disaster of the magnitude of Hurricane Ivan.
These conditions could be attributed to a breakdown in solid waste collection, the collection of large water bodies and increased water storage at homes and businesses.
“Our major concern is dengue fever and the mosquito that transmits it is the domestic mosquito [aedes aegypti], which breeds in and around the home, so the Ministry is trying to get householders onboard to do their part,” he explained.
There are simple activities that householders can do in and around the house to reduce mosquito breeding. Inspecting homes, both indoor and outdoor, for likely breeding places is a good way to start.
Upon inspection, the simple matter of replacing water in flower vases with sand or dirt will come to your attention. “All you need is to keep the sand or dirt moist and your flowers will do just as well,” Mr. Knight informed.
There is also the removal of all unwanted containers – tins, bottles and all the household items around the home that can collect water. These items will serve as a major breeding area for mosquitoes.
For persons using containers for storing water, Mr. Knight said that these containers should be tightly covered and properly protected. “If you cannot do this, then you can pour the ordinary cooking oil or a teaspoon of kerosene, and that will create a phlegm on top of the water, which prevents mosquitoes from breeding,” the Director advised.
If there is waste matter in and around the house, this should be collected and bagged, then put out for collection by the relevant agency.
Mr. Knight also stated that the Health Ministry was working closely with the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) in the collection of debris and solid waste on the streets. “Also, we have to be careful about rat breeding,” he pointed out.
“These types of waste will provide food for rats, and if they have food they are going to multiply, and we do not want to have a rat problem,” the Director emphasized.
CONTACT: KAREN CADIEN