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Suspected cases of dengue in Georgetown prompt officials to fog against the vermin

Suspected cases of dengue in Georgetown prompt officials to fog against the vermin

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There were two suspected cases of dengue fever in Georgetown last week, prompting public health officials to fog against the mosquito that spreads the disease.{{more}}

And while the Vector Control Unit fogs against adult Aedes Egypti mosquitoes, Rupert Doyle, chief environmental health officer, told SEARCHLIGHT on Friday this is the last option in the fight against the vermin.

“We don’t depend on fogging,” he said. “Fogging is like a back-up, because, in terms of our mosquito control, our main aim is to get rid of the breeding sites, which is physical removal of the breeding sites. We also do educational programmes, so that people will be sensitised.”

Vector control professionals also use biological control, releasing the “Million” fish where mosquitoes are likely to breed and also use limited chemical control.

The programme to kill adult mosquitoes —fogging — is done “off and on”.

“If they have dengue cases in a particular community, … [there is] the possibility that the vector is around. Then we do fogging. So, it is important that we strategise our approach, so that we can get the maximum effect,” Doyle said by telephone.

Fogging was conducted in Mt Bentick, Georgetown, Wednesday “because of the high infestation”.

“They have two suspected cases up there. So we did some fogging, in case the cases are confirmed.”

Doyle said his department’s programme will indicate if there “high indices in certain areas”.

“And hence, we will vigorously do our four-prong attack, which is physical removal of the breeding site; we will also do some education; we will also do a limited chemical treatment — destroying the life cycle, doing our larvicidal programme, and then we will do some fogging, if necessary.”

He said residents can reduce the mosquito population by ensuring that their septic tanks are well sealed and the vent pipes screened.

“Nobody screens that. So, if by chance the mosquito enters the septic tank and breeds in it, they will come out through the vent pipe. So, we are asking persons to screen the vent pipes in the septic tanks…”

He said his department seals septic tanks when they are discovered.

“But persons need to seal the septic tanks themselves, seal the vent pipes leading from the septic tanks as a way to facilitate our programmes.

“Because you realise vector control cannot do everything. You have farmers out there also who are storing water to feed animals that is in the farmlands. They need to screen the drums also. Because mosquitoes rely on water to breed … So the community has to play their part,” Doyle told Searchlight. (kentonchance@searchlight.vc)

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