The Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is warning the region that as the rainy seasons approaches every effort must be made to intensity efforts to deal with mosquitoes, which it describes as “the world’s deadliest animal”.
CARPHA executive director, Dr C James Hospedales in a message coinciding with Mosquito Awareness Week 2019 said the mosquitoes could seriously affect the health of Caribbean people.
“Mosquito borne diseases stress our region’s health care systems, threaten social and economic development, and negatively impact our tourism industry,” he said.
CARPHA said that the World Health Organization (WHO) has indicated that the dengue virus alone threatens approximately 3.9 billion people in over 128 countries.
Mosquito Awareness Week 2019 is being observed with the slogan “Fight the Bite, Destroy Mosquito Breeding Sites”, and CARPHA said the week focuses on mosquito borne diseases and risks associated with them.
It said climate variability can influence the number of persons exposed to mosquito-borne diseases.
“As the rainy season approaches, mosquito control and awareness activities need to be intensified. Significant rainfall can lead to a proliferation of mosquito breeding sites, increased mosquito populations and an increased risk of disease transmission.”
Senior Technical Officer, responsible for Vector Borne Diseases Prevention and Control at CARPHA, Rajesh Ragoo, said the best way to “fight the bite” is to be on the lookout for standing water and clean up our surroundings.
“The two most important things to control mosquito populations in our Caribbean countries is through source reduction, specifically management of water storage drums and tanks, and properly dispose of used vehicle tires to prevent mosquitoes breeding,” he added.
Ragoo said it is also important to minimise exposure to mosquito bites especially for vulnerable populations such as infants, young children, older adults and women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
CARPHA said it is urging all to work as a team to reduce the mosquito populations.