By Carlena Knight
Although significant focus is being placed on arresting Covid-19, Chief Health Inspector (CHI) Sharon Martin is reminding residents to remain vigilant against other transmissible diseases like the mosquito-borne dengue fever.
“Although it would appear as if it has been pushed in the dark, persons have to remember that we are into the rainy season and mosquitoes are out there like crazy.
“We need to continue practising covering water containers properly, protect the overflow and bag their waste for disposal because even the cover off of a water bottle once turned up and rain comes, can catch water and mosquitoes will go and [lay] their eggs in there,” Martin said.
Martin noted that community effort is also needed to ensure some of the gutters in front of homes do not hold stagnant water which also can be a breeding place for the mosquitoes.
With the Atlantic hurricane season now at its peak, the intermittent rainfall has increased chances of the spread of dengue by the Aedes aegypti mosquito as well.
Because of this, the Chief Health Inspector is appealing to residents to continue to practise the protective measures to ensure these mosquitoes do not breed.
“If there is no access to water, they cannot lay their eggs or their eggs wouldn’t hatch. So, let us practise good public health measures. Cover your water bin and if you see wrigglers, throw a little cooking oil in the centre of it.
“Before time we used to use little fish, you know what we used to call the little guppy fish and we put them into our tanks and any eggs laid by mosquitoes would never make it. This is a biological way of dealing with mosquito breeding. We can still do that.
“We can still use a little oil in the water and cover our water and water around your house that’s not for good use, you can throw it away and turn down the container. If you have tyres in your yard, you can throw soil in it,” Martin said.
She said while her team will continue to play its part in this fight, it has become quite difficult to do so in the past few months, more so in the past weeks, as currently eight of her 14 staff are unable to work due to the recent vaccine mandate.
“It has worsened. Vaccine resistance has made some of them not available right now to carry out the work, so I have my hands full. Some of the officers are very resistant, so we will have to wait and see how things go. I can’t tell for now,” Martin revealed.
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms typically manifest from three to 14 days after infection.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito is responsible for the spread of the dengue, zika and chikungunya viruses.
In 2019, an outbreak of dengue occurred in Antigua and Barbuda resulting in one death, according to reports.