Rid communities of mosquito breeding sites to contain Dengue spread
“We are in the midst of an outbreak of Dengue and we are encouraging everyone to take the required preventative measures, because as expressed before if there are no mosquitoes, there is no Dengue.”
So said Acting Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Shawn Charles, during a media briefing on Tuesday, as he urged the Grenadian populace to be a part of the solution to prevent a further increase in Dengue cases by ensuring that surroundings are free of mosquito breeding sites.
To date, over 100 Dengue cases have been recorded with the Ministry of Health reporting a spike in cases per week, earlier this month – 29 cases were recorded.
Dr Shawn Charles explained that “mosquitoes require a particular environment in order to thrive; that is, there has to be some site in the vicinity of where persons live or work, where there is stagnant water that allows for mosquitoes to breed and the mosquitoes will go on to transmit the Dengue.”
Therefore, he encouraged “everyone to take on the responsibility to examine your surroundings, do everything you can to rid your surroundings of mosquitoes and the conditions that would allow their breeding and proliferation.”
In a recent newscast, Dr Shawn noted that usually at this time of year, less than 10 cases are expected per week, adding that “Because Dengue is endemic here,” cases are recorded sporadically.
Also in a recent newscast, Senior Health Environmental Officer with responsibility for Vector Control, Kenny James, said this spike in cases is of concern to the Ministry, noting that cases are more prevalent in Saint Andrew, Saint David and Saint George.
Thus, he said the Ministry is “stepping up our vigilance ensuring that communities are free from breeding sites.”
James noted that while “the Ministry is engaged in fogging exercises, it is not the solution to the problem. The solution is ensuring that our surroundings are free from mosquito breeding sites.”
Dengue, a mosquito-borne disease, is spread when one is bitten by an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. The common symptoms include headache, fever, rash, vomiting and joint, muscle and abdominal pains.
Since there is no specific treatment for Dengue, the most appropriate intervention is prevention, said Dr Charles, who noted that this requires a neighborhood effort of the cleaning environment.
In addition, one can take the following measures to reduce chances of being bitten by mosquitoes:
- Wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants.
- Treat clothes and skin with insect repellents.
- Use mosquito netting if you will be in any areas with many mosquitoes.
- Make sure windows and doors screens are closed to avoid allowing mosquitoes into enclosed spaces.
- Avoid areas with standing water. Especially at times of high mosquito activity like dawn and dusk.
- Get rid of stagnant water around home and cover water stored in containers
- Clear drains to prevent water from becoming stagnant