Barbadians are again being encouraged to do their part to assist the Ministry of Health’s Vector Control Unit in the control and eradication of the aedes egypti mosquito.
Senior Environmental Health Officer, Maurice Gaskin, explained that the efforts of his unit alone couldn’t totally control the breeding and spread of the mosquito, which causes the potentially deadly dengue virus.
"…fogging only takes care of the adult mosquitoes and not the mosquitoes in the larvae stage or in the egg stage and we [estimate] that fogging takes care of only about 30 per cent of the mosquito population in Barbados in any given year," he stated.
To help in the eradication of the pests, the health official pointed out that homeowners should inspect their properties at least twice weekly for at least 10 minutes to ensure there were no places for mosquitoes to breed. "Turn containers down and keep the bush around premises very low," he cautioned, explaining that once the bush grew high, it encouraged indiscriminate dumping and the containers dumped could facilitate mosquito breeding.
Mr. Gaskin also recommended that persons constructing homes should visit the site at least once a week to treat concrete blocks with kerosene, diesel or bleach solution in an effort to minimise mosquito propagation.
In addition to fogging, which is done at least nine months out of every year, the Senior Environmental Health Officer noted that his Unit engaged in a number of other initiatives to rid the island of mosquitoes.
One such initiative is biological control, where Larvivorous fish – fish which eat larvae-are placed in large pools of stagnant water.?? In the event that the water evaporates and the fish die, the mosquito dunk could be used as an alternative method, since it acts as a biological control to eradicate mosquitoes.
The Unit also sets ovitraps – a trapping device made with a black bottle and a piece of cardboard which are placed strategically at ports of entry into the country. "The ovitraps are collected every Tuesday and brought to the Ministry of Health [for inspection]…if we discover that out of the 46 traps placed that at least six of them are positive in any given week…we would make arrangements with management of that particular port and it is fogged around 12:00 to 1:00 in the morning before any ships or aircraft arrive or depart," Mr. Gaskin clarified.
Complaints to the Unit about an increase in mosquito activity are also investigated and the cases are dealt with in order of priority. Institutions which receive preference are schools and hospitals.