Reduction in mosquito breeding sites in Westmoreland

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

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VECTOR control officer at the Westmoreland Health Department, Ryan Morris is reporting a major reduction in breeding sites for the Aedes aegypti mosquito in the parish.

“We have seen a significant trending down, and we are heading back to normalcy,” he told JIS News.

He said that following the declaration of an outbreak of dengue fever in January, the department's capacity was enhanced with the addition of 29 temporary vector control workers from the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme and the Ministry of Health's Vector Support Programme, bringing the total to 60.

They worked along with the eight permanent workers to destroy mosquito breeding grounds in the parish.

“We were also encouraged to hire additional transportation to assist with getting the staff to and from locations to undertake larvicidal control activities,” Morris noted.

He said that the boost in the staff complement enabled the department to carry out eradication activities in more communities.

While the temporary workers completed their three-month stint on April 5, Morris said that activities will continue, to ensure maximum coverage of high-risk areas.

“To date, we have two private pest controllers operating within the parish — one operating in eastern Westmoreland, while the other is at the western end. The main team continues to fog the central area of the parish,” he noted.

Health and education promotions officer at the Westmoreland Health Department, Gerald Miller, for his part, told JIS News that the department embarked on a sensitisation programme aimed at engaging residents in destroying mosquito breeding sites.

“We have been utilising the JIS to do community announcements on dengue-prevention methods in various sections of the parish. This was done from February 15 to March 31. High-risk areas of the parish were targeted. Our sensitisation sessions in the clinics and hospitals are ongoing, as well as public service announcements by way of a local radio station in the parish,” he said.

“The response has been great. Persons are now saturated with the information, and we hope that they transfer that into their behaviour,” he added.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is responsible for the spread of the dengue, Zika and chikungunya viruses.

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