Against the background of the recent increase in rainfall across the island, Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson is appealing for persons to search for and destroy mosquito breeding sites around the home, school and place of business.
Dr. Ferguson explains that two of the vector borne diseases – dengue fever and chikungunya – which affect the Jamaican population are transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito which primarily breeds in clean water which settles in containers around places inhabited by humans.
“There is currently no drug to cure any of those vector borne diseases. We can only try to reduce the population of the Aedes aegypti mosquito which spreads the viruses. The dengue and chikungunya viruses can only be spread by the bite of this mosquito. When the mosquito bites an infected person, it can transmit the virus to others bitten afterwards.”
Individuals should get rid of mosquito breeding sites by looking for anything in which water can settle and either cover it, keep the area dry, clean it regularly, fill it with soil or sand, punch holes into it and recycle or properly dispose of it. If mesh is used to cover containers then the holes should be small enough so that mosquitoes cannot enter.
Dr. Ferguson says drums that are used to store water have been found to be the main breeding sites for mosquitoes and so individuals need to pay special attention to these containers.
Individuals who wish to obtain more information on dengue fever and the chikungunya virus may call the Ministry of Health or the nearest health centre.