Minister of Health Donville Inniss (right) listens as Environmental Health Specialist (with responsibility for Vector Control) Ronald Chapman (centre)??addresses the issue of the impact of fogging. Also pictured is Chief Environmental Health Officer (left) Mr. Tyrone Applewaithe.

Fogging to rid the island of the Aedes Egypti mosquito is still working!

This emphatic response came today from Environmental Health Specialist, with responsibility for Vector Control, Ronald Chapman.?? He addressed media personnel on the issue, at a press conference called by the Ministry of Health at the Frank Walcott Building, to provide an update on ongoing activities with respect to dengue fever and its prevention and control.

Mr. Chapman disclosed that the Ministry of Health had, just last year, put the fogging programme to test and was able to conclude it was successful.

He said: "We have been using malathion as an active agent for fogging for a number of years and adding diesel as a propellant to the fog [which is not harmful to humans].?? What we have been doing over the years with the consistent use of the malathion, we wanted to find out if the fog was still working and [so] we conducted a trial – called a resistance test – where we exposed the mosquitoes to the same level and concentration of fog that they would have received in the district when we do the fogging.

"We conducted that trial late last year under a controlled environment and what we found was that the fog still works. Once the mosquito has been exposed to the required amount of fog it will still die."

Chief Environmental Health Officer, Mr. Tyrone Applewaithe (left) making a point about environmental health matters while Senior Medical Officer of Health (North) Dr. Karen Springer (centre) and Minister of Health, Donville Inniss,??look on.??

While reiterating that the Ministry could "safely say that the malathion and diesel mix that we are using still works" he indicated the next step would be to determine whether or not its method of applying the fog works.

The official noted that this part of the study would start in the next six weeks as the Ministry now had "a fledgling Insectory" – a place where you basically breed mosquitoes or other insects for the purpose of research.

"We are going to then put them [mosquitoes] out in the districts where the guys are going to fog. What happens basically is that the persons who are doing the fogging will not know where the mosquitoes are or when the trial will take place, so they won’t have any opportunity to modify their fogging actions," Mr. Chapman revealed.

He continued: "So what we [will] do then is place mosquitoes in a number of different areas, in people’s homes, backyards, anywhere you would normally find mosquitoes breeding and allow the guys (environmental health officers) to go through their normal fogging.

"We [will] take the mosquitoes back and then check them to see if they will die. So that will let us know whether or not the actual application method is working."

Meanwhile, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joy St. John stressed that the purpose of the fogging campaign was to kill the adult mosquitoes. She explained: "The places that we go to do the fogging depend on us getting a report of someone being ill with dengue fever. So we want to kill the mosquitoes that could bite someone who has the active virus and then take that virus to someone, who is not infected. So that’s the purpose of fogging." jgill@barbados.gov.bb

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