Editorial: Beware these mosquitoes

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The news should give us pause – 15 suspected cases of Dengue, with two confirmed, here in Antigua and Barbuda! The dreaded Aedes aegypti mosquito is the villain delivering that disease, not only here in Antigua and Barbuda, but in Jamaica and other locales. The Aedes aegypti carries the disease after it picks it up from an infected person. The infected female mosquito (and only the female), by way of a painful poke of her proboscis, transmits her infection. Mercifully, no deaths have been recorded here in our fair state as a result of this dengue. It is also quite a good thing that the disease is not transmitted from person to person.

Of course, we wish to applaud the Ministry of Health for its stepped-up public awareness campaign, as well as its increased fogging effort. We believe that the robust response (strong media appearances and educational outreach) was key to the appreciable containment of this outbreak so far. The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has also been quite vigorous in its public awareness warnings and initiatives.

Interestingly, notwithstanding our best efforts at eradication – not only here in Antigua and Barbuda, but worldwide – Dengue has persisted, albeit on a significantly smaller scale than in days of yore. We’re talking about as far back as several hundred years when dengue, already being carried by monkeys, made the leap to humans in Africa or Southeast Asia.

We here at NEWSCO certainly wish to do our part in the media presentations and public awareness campaigns. We intend to FIGHT THE BITE (as per our Ministry of Health’s anti-mosquito slogans). After all, THERE ARE TOO MANY BITING INSECTS (pun intended) (See Ghetto Flex’s calypso classic by the above-mentioned name) Beware the mosquito!

Apparently, they not only suck blood, but they pass on a variety of diseases like yellow fever, zika and chikungunya. Seems the Aedes aegypti is similar to our human bloodsuckers, aka politicians, except that the politicians are exponentially worse! Poor Aedes aegypti! When it comes to feeding on unprotected and innocent humans; when it comes to parasitism; when it comes to wreaking havoc on entire populations, inflicting untold pain and misery – damage that will last generations – the Aedes aegypti is Mickey Mouse. When it comes to just brazenly and shamelessly sticking it to the people and sucking the lifeblood out of a country, politicians have no equal in the animal kingdom. Not in this life or the next!

Of course, we do not wish to minimise the danger of the Dengue threat, but only one percent of those infected with the Dengue virus will die from it. Conversely, those folks who fall victim to our politicians will die! And those who do not die will be jaundiced, cock-eyed and listless.  Apathy and malaise soon take over, and they become fevered and delusional. Alas, when a politician sticks his proboscis in many people in our fair state, the infection is akin to a drug – insidious and deceptive to the point where the victim cries out for more (See Sparrow’s WE KNOW, BUT WE LIKE IT SO). Help us Lord!

We are being sucked by vampires and we beg for more, sometimes becoming vampires ourselves. It is a strange symbiotic relationship where we adore those who thrive on keeping us in poverty and dependency. They need our votes, so they throw us a few handouts here and there. And we foolishly deliver our votes in return. Blissfully oblivious to the fact that we are in a state of penury and deprivation because of (gasp!) our bloodsucking ‘benefactors.’ 

The poor roads, the broken promises, the annoying buzzing of sweet-sounding nothings, the low wages, the long wait for every blessed thing, the hide-and-seek politicians who, much like the crafty mosquitoes, go into hiding whenever there is fogging and other household spraying, are all evidence of bloodsuckers among us. So too when we see politicians and their cronies doing well and everybody else catching hell, please know that something is being sucked out of a country. Of course, wherever there is sunlight and calls for transparency and accountability and good governance, these vectors cannot be found. They thrive best in murky water, under the table and in dark, dank corners. They operate best, much like vampires, mosquitoes, jablesses and sookoonahs, under cover of night. And making the sign of the cross and using Baygon and other household sprays will not be efficacious! So sad! Fellow citizens, BEWARE!

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