St Ann health department steps up efforts to get rid of mosquito breeding sites
ST JAMES, Jamaica – The St Ann Health Department will be taking strong action against residents who persistently allow mosquitoes to breed on their premises, particularly repeat offenders.
Addressing the monthly meeting of the St Ann Municipal Corporation on July 13, Chief Public Health Inspector for the parish, Leroy Scott, said the measure has become necessary to combat the threat of mosquito-borne diseases and to reduce the prevalence of mosquito breeding sites across the parish.
He highlighted the worrying trend of vector-control officers returning to the households where mosquito breeding had been previously identified, only to find new breeding sites.
Against that background, he is warning that individuals who refuse to destroy mosquito breeding sites on their property could face penalties.
“In many of the instances, the same household that you go to and find breeding before, it’s the same household you go back to and find breeding. So, where that happens, we are going to be taking strong enforcement action, and also where people are having multiple containers breeding mosquitoes, because the more you have is the higher the risk of having mosquito-borne diseases,” he argued.
Scott further noted that the rainfall experienced across the parish in June had a lagging effect on mosquito breeding indices for the parish.
As a result, the breeding index for premises inspected in June climbed to 21.8 per cent, marking a five per cent increase over May that recorded 17 per cent.
Scott emphasised that water-catchment containers remain a major breeding ground for mosquitoes, constituting 16 per cent of the breeding index.
The index refers to the percentage of premises or homes in a limited, well-defined space, where actual breeding of the Aedes aegypti mosquito is found and the total number of houses examined in that area.
Recognising this ongoing challenge, the health department intends to acquire additional drum covers to distribute to residents in communities that rely on water storage.
“So, hopefully, during the course of this summer season we’ll be able to get additional drum covers…. to boost our control efforts,” the chief public health inspector said.
He said despite a lack of “dramatic increase” in dengue cases within St Ann, residents need to remain vigilant due to indications of rising cases in other parishes.
“So, we have to maintain our vigilance and will continue our dengue preparedness programme,” Scott stated.