The Ministry of Health (MOH) has increased its vector control activities to reduce mosquito breeding sites and decrease mosquito infestation in communities in light of the recent heavy rainfall. Immediately following the heavy rains the MOH enhanced its mosquito control efforts in all parishes but with special emphasis on the three most affected: Clarendon, St. Thomas and St. Catherine.
The entire Environmental Health Services within the Ministry has been mobilized and tasked with implementing measures to address the potential threats posed by this natural hazard. Some of the enhanced vector control activities include:
- Enhanced fogging in all parishes
- Increased larvicidal work
- Extended hours of work by vector control staff
- Investigation and response to complaints
- Health Promotion
- Procurement of additional reserve chemical stocks
- Assessment of transportation and deployment based on need
As it relates specifically to Clarendon, in which approximately fifty-seven (57) communities were impacted by flooding, plans are also under way to re-engage the Temporary HEART trained Vector Workers. This will result in an improved capacity of the parish to respond to the needs of the communities served.
The increased mosquito infestation being experienced island wide with reports of large, black, “strange” looking mosquitoes is similar to what was observed in 2014 when heavy rains fell after a prolonged drought. This resulted in the breeding of Aedes Taeniorhynchus, a fairly large, black salt marsh mosquito which inundated these communities.
The Aedes Taeniorhynchus is one of the main species of mosquito identified in this recent infestation. This mosquito is not known to transmit any vector borne diseases like Dengue or Zika V, but is a major nuisance as it aggressively seeks a blood meal from human and animals.
As the MOH continues to carry out its enhanced vector control activities the public is being urged to play their part to reduce mosquito breeding sites. Everyone is being urged to search for and destroy any potential mosquito breeding site in and around their homes.