The Ministry of Health and Wellness is encouraging householders to continue to search for and destroy mosquito breeding sites in and around the home in order to minimise the threat of dengue and other vector-borne diseases.
Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Medical Entomologist and Programme Manager for the National Vector Control Programme, Sherine Huntley-Jones said that the sustained efforts on the part of the householder will bring the best results.
“We want to remind persons that the Aedes aegypti is a domesticated mosquito, meaning that it is usually found breeding in and around our homes, places of work, places where we fellowship and come together,” she noted.
“This particular species is an urban mosquito that lives in and around where we have activities. The main control against this type of mosquito will be the actions taken at the household level or in our personal spaces,” she stressed.
Mrs. Huntley-Jones is encouraging persons to take some time every week to look for breeding sites in and around their homes.
“In Jamaica, we have found that the 45 to 55-gallon drums are our main breeding sites,” she told JIS News.
She said that the presence of drums in several communities appears to be cultural as the containers are even found in homes that do not have an issue with access to piped water.
Mrs. Huntley-Jones provided some tips to minimise the possibility of the drums becoming breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
“We understand that persons may not want to throw out the water, so we recommend that you cover them. If you want to catch rainwater we are asking you to cover the drum with a material that will allow the water to come in, but will not give access to the mosquitoes,” she advised.
“We also encourage persons to use a little drop of unused cooking oil. It creates a thin film on the surface of the water and suffocates the larvae in its immature stage, and this will prevent them from becoming adults,” she continued.
Mrs. Huntley-Jones further advised persons to turn over drums that are not in use to prevent water from settling in them and creating additional problems.
She said that containers such as vases should be properly scrubbed to dislodge eggs.
She explained that mosquitoes lay eggs on the side of the container just above the water surface “so persons have to be aware that when they throw out water from their vase but leave the eggs on the container, when they refill the container it becomes flooded and you have the emergence of the immature stage of the mosquito”.
Mrs. Huntley-Jones said that special attention should also be paid to bromeliad plants, which have long, curved leaves that overlap at the base, providing a space for mosquitoes to breed.
She pointed out that broken bottles that are placed on top of fences as a protective measure can also hold water, and the vector control team has found that these could become mosquito breeding sites.
“Once you check for anything in and around your home that is able to hold water for a prolonged period of time, at least once per week you should be successful in interrupting the cycle of breeding,” Mrs. Huntley-Jones said.