The mosquito-borne chikungunya virus has been confirmed in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), but do you know which areas of the country tend to have higher populations of mosquitos?
Three cases of chikungunya have been confirmed on the northern Grenadine island of Bequia. And as of Thursday, there were an additional 14 suspected cases, also on that island.
At a press conference on Thursday, Danville Toney, senior environmental health officer within the Department of Primary Health Care and the Environment, said the Grenadines, because of water harvesting, tent to have higher number of mosquitos.
“Where you have stored water, if you are not storing properly, you tend to have a greater possibilities of the vector breeding,” he said.
But there are also mosquito “hotspots” in St. Vincent, Toney said, identifying them as Clare Valley, Georgetown, Calliaqua, and Redemption Sharpes.
He said these places have larger mosquito populations “because of the way people operate…
“But generally, persons if they are not storing water properly create an issue with mosquito breeding,” Toney said.
“… Our vector control officers are aware of the hotspots and the situation, as it is now, we are going to zoom in even more in the hotspot areas,” he further said.
Toney noted that control of the chikungunya virus is linked to the control of the aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads that infection, as well as dengue.
The Ministry of Health first received reports of suspected cases of chikungunya on Bequia on April 12.
Toney said a field officer was dispatched to Bequia, and later that same day, the supervisor of the Vector Control Unit, Todd Lewis, along with some other insect vector officers, travelled to Bequia to give support.
The officers conducted inspections in the areas where the suspected cases where identified and also conducted fogging operation.
“We didn’t want to take a chance, we wanted to knock down any infective mosquitoes or mosquitoes that might have been infective,” he said, adding that fogging was done in Paget Farm, Port Elizabeth, and Lower Bay.
Toney said control of the aedes mosquito is the responsibility of every citizen of SVG.
“Each of us must play a pivotal role in reducing it,” he said, and highlights the important of reducing opportunities for the insect to breed.
He said the Vector Control Unit will increase surveillance, especially on Bequia and will also be paying close action to what happens in St. Vincent.
“All of us are at risk and all of us must play a role in controlling the vector, the aedes mosquito,” he said.
He noted that a large part of the live of a mosquito is spent in water, adding that the guttering on the eaves of houses can also be a breeding site for mosquito
“A successful control of the disease is linked to a successful control of the mosquito,” Toney said.
Protect against mosquitos
- Cover up. Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants with fabric thick enough to prevent mosquitoes from biting. Shoes and socks are also recommended.
- Avoid being outdoors in the early evening to morning. This is when mosquitoes are most active and likely to bite.
- Reduce mosquito breeding sites around your home. Mosquitoes breed in water that has been standing for seven days or longer.
- Use an insect repellent if required. You only need to use a repellent if you are going to be outdoors during the early evening to morning hours when mosquitoes tend to be feeding, or when in a wooded, shaded or swampy area.
- Install window and door nets and use a mosquito net over your bed. (Source)