Sint Maarten : Population requested to step up measures to mitigate mosquito population

Igor Rembotte
Par Igor Rembotte 2 Sep 2013 11:15

Sint Maarten : Population requested to step up measures to mitigate mosquito population

Minister of Public Health Hon. Cornelius de Weever

Minister of Public Health Hon. Cornelius de Weever

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Section General Health Care (SGHC) of the Collective Preventive Services (CPS), a government agency under the Ministry of Public Health, is appealing to resident’s country wide to step up measures at homes and businesses to mitigate the rise in dengue fever caused by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito.

There has been a significant rise in the number of confirmed dengue fever cases when comparing the months of July and August.  The number of cases for 2013 from January up to the end of July was 101 cases, and up to the end of August are 167 or 66 confirmed cases just in the month of August alone.

Minister of Public Health Hon. Cornelius de Weever, ‘Get Checked” campaign, is in line with the urgent appeal for residents, and business owners, to check-in and around their homes, and businesses in order to reduce breeding sites of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, and making them mosquito-free zones.

The logistics for mosquito fogging are just about complete and a schedule for district fogging will be issued soon as fogging vector control activities get underway for September.

Residents must bear in mind that fogging is not a total solution to eliminate mosquitos.  Fogging activity is kept to a minimum in order to prevent the mosquito population from developing immunity to the chemicals that are deployed, and therefore is only used when really necessary. 

Fogging is one intervention of several, and the main measure is for every household and business to take action by removing potential mosquito breeding spots in and around their premises on a daily basis.  Elimination of mosquitos is an individual responsibility, a community responsibility.

Residents must bear in mind that rain events can disrupt mosquito fogging activities, therefore the district schedule will be adjusted accordingly and this will be communicated to the community in a timely manner.

The two districts that have seen the highest cases of confirmed dengue fever are Simpson Bay and Cole Bay.  Residents and business owners of these areas are requested to step up their actions to eliminate mosquito breeding spots. This is then followed by the districts of Cay Hill and Belvedere.

The serotype of dengue circulating on the island is Dengue 2 and 4 which have been identified by French authorities from the North side of the island. The age groups with the most reported cases are 25-44 and 45-64.   

Residents with dengue fever symptoms are requested to consult with their family physician who can then refer them to the lab for a laboratory test that would confirm if they have dengue or not, and to give the proper advice to ensure a healthy recovery avoiding other health risks.

Dengue symptoms include high fever, severe headache, backache, joint and eye pain, nausea and vomiting, and rash. Once a person has developed a fever, the infectious period lasts for about a week.  Most people recover without any complications, using pain relievers, liquid intake (preferably water or juice) and bed rest.  Avoid self-medication and consult your physician.

SGHC is calling on the populace to take daily actions to eliminate mosquito breeding opportunities around their home and workplace.  On a daily basis check containers such as buckets and water tanks for larvae and eliminate the breeding source.  Water tanks should be properly secure and screened to prevent mosquito’s from entering.  If there aren’t any containers with water for mosquitoes to lay the larvae there won’t be any adult mosquitoes. 

Dengue Fever is transmitted by the female vector Aedes Aegypti mosquito. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is distinguished by its markings. The body of the mosquito has alternate black and white horizontal stripes. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito lays her eggs in clear (clean) stagnant water. Within eight days the mosquito can complete its life cycle from egg, to larvae to pupae and to adult mosquito.

Even after you have cleaned-up your yard and surroundings, it is recommended for persons to walk around their surroundings on a weekly basis and after every rain event to eliminate all possible breeding sites.

Mobilize family, friends, neighbors and colleagues to collectively take actions to eliminate mosquito breeding sources.

Homeowners can reduce the number of areas where adult mosquitoes can find shelter by cutting down weeds adjacent to the house foundation and in their yards, and mowing the lawn regularly. 

On a daily basis check plants in your yard for mosquito breeding sites, keep vegetation properly trim, and avoid overgrown vegetation.

Check around construction sites or do-it-yourself improvements to ensure that proper backfilling and grading is realized to prevent drainage problems which can be a source for standing water.

When out during dusk and dawn hours, use mosquito repellent or wear proper clothing to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

An increase in the mosquito population puts all residents and businesses at risk. Call for information on the Aedes Aegypti mosquito breeding sites and respective preventive measures at 542-2078 or 542-3003 or emailsurveillance@sintmaartengov.org

Igor Rembotte
Par Igor Rembotte 2 Sep 2013 11:15