EDITORIAL – Mosquito control key as rains come
The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) has noted the need to
continue eliminating mosquitoes as vectors of disease, even in the
midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a recent epidemiological update on dengue and other arboviruses,
PAHO stated that while social distancing measures are in place,
households should be encouraged to work together in and around their
homes to get rid of stagnant water, reduce and dispose of solid waste,
and to ensure proper covering of all water storage containers.
The PAHO update further added, “The COVID-19 pandemic is placing
immense pressure on health care and management systems worldwide.
Notwithstanding the impact of COVID-19, there is a crucial need to
sustain efforts to address dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases,
using the Integrated Management Strategy to prevent and control them.
This strategy covers management, epidemiology, patient care,
laboratory, integrated vector management, and environment.”
Meanwhile, in addition to the 1.6 million dengue cases acknowledged so
far for 2020 in the Americas, it has been noted that there were also
37,279 Chikungunya cases, and 7,452 Zika cases reported to PAHO. The
numbers so far in 2020 show a 10% relative decrease compared to the
same period in 2019, which was an epidemic year. PAHO’s figures show
that 580 people have died from dengue so far in 2020.
Here in Barbados, we should take note of what is happening across the
globe and take progressive steps to ensure that we can keep our
numbers down, where these mosquito-borne diseases are concerned.
Indeed, we are having more rainfall of late due to various weather
systems and we are well aware that with the incoming rain, we will
likely have a rise in the mosquito population, as the conditions in
our environment become more conducive for them to thrive.
By now, however, Barbadians should be aware of what is needed to
reduce the likelihood of mosquitoes breeding on their premises. We
have all heard countless times of the need to look for breeding sites
in water drums, old tyres, discarded buckets and other containers such
as vases, flower pots, bottles and so on. Once you have good domestic
sanitation and you are aware how to prevent mosquitoes breeding, it
can quite easily be
done. However, too often homeowners and business owners have a laid
back approach to this whole issue, until the authorities signal the
More can certainly be done by Barbadians on a whole to beef up their
premises against an influx of mosquitoes and this starts by ensuring
that these insects do not get the chance to multiply. We can then take
precaution against the dangerous Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in
particular that surface, through the use of repellents, the wearing of
light coloured, long sleeved shirts and pants and also ensuring that
rooms are fitted with screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering.
So let’s do our part to ensure that we do not contribute to any rise
in dengue related cases or any other mosquito borne diseases, for that
In the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, Barbadians must do what they
can to reduce any burden on our current health care system and taking
action against contracting any mosquito-borne disease is certainly one
way of doing so.