Jamaica News: Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, is urging Jamaicans to treat the three-day national dengue cleanup exercise, which gets under way on Friday (January 24), as one step in their approach to eradicating mosquitoes transmitting this and other diseases, over the long-term.
Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank at the Agency’s Head Office in Kingston on Tuesday (January 21), Dr. Tufton reiterated that the first line of defence in countering dengue fever is controlling the breeding of mosquitoes.
The Minister said the insect is the most dangerous vector known to humans and, as such, poses a major challenge to control.
“One mosquito will survive for 30 days, lay every three to five days, and lay 300 eggs at a time. Consider that being multiplied 10 times for its lifespan and it is theoretically possible for a mosquito to lay 3,000 eggs,” Dr. Tufton outlined.
Consequently, he added, mosquito eradication will require ongoing measures and “all hands on deck”.
The Minister warned that if persons fail to destroy fertile breeding sites resulting from solid waste mismanagement, improper storage of water or otherwise, “you will never have enough resources to deal with the impact that dengue will have”.
In emphasising that “prevention is always better than cure”, Dr. Tufton argued that citizens’ action remains, “by far, the most effective approach to dealing with dengue”.
This, he further stressed, is manifested in “the extent to which the citizen recognises the threat and is proactive in minimising, if not totally preventing, that threat from occurring”.
“You are really your best defence… [this] by… looking in your surroundings and protecting your environment by eliminating breeding sites, physically doing inspections, storing your solid waste properly, punching holes in tyres and cans and changing the water in vases,” he advised.
The Minister assured that these measures will not only protect individuals and their families but also friends and the wider community.
Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton urges persons to refrain from resisting the deployment of resources to communities by stakeholder agencies to execute vector-control activities.
He noted concerns resonating, such as extreme aggression by householders and other persons towards vector-control workers.
“It is illegal and makes no sense, because you are really preserving the threat that is right on your doorstep or in your homes,” the Minister emphasised.
Additionally, he warned that if persons reject the applications used by the vector-control teams to eliminate breeding sites, they will be culpable of contributing to the problem rather than the solution.
Dr. Tufton cited a recent incident involving residents who emptied drums of water that had been treated by vector-control workers and refilled them with fresh water, on the assumption that the discarded water was contaminated.
In pointing out that “they basically put back fresh water for the mosquito to breed in”, the Minister indicated that the applications used for water treatment are in accordance with World Health Organization standards.
Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton encourages persons to visit their doctors at the first sign of symptoms consistent with dengue, and not resort to self-medicating.
He also warns persons not to use expired prescription medication, especially for vulnerable persons such as children, the elderly and individuals with chronic ailments or compromised immune systems.
Dr. Tufton advises householders to spray their homes with domestic insecticides in the evenings, citing this as an effective response to controlling dengue.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness has issued a call to action for a national collective response to the dengue outbreak, and encourages persons to search for and destroy mosquito breeding sites between January 24 and 26, and continue these efforts after the islandwide cleanup exercise has concluded.
Source: JIS News