The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has issued a call for the people of the region to help fight the spread of mosquitoes.
The Caribbean is observing Caribbean Mosquito Awareness Week 2019.
“Mosquitoes are the world’s deadliest animal and carry diseases which are bad for business and our health. Mosquito borne diseases stress our region’s health care systems, threaten social and economic development, and negatively impact our tourism industry,” said CARPHA Executive Director, Dr C. James Hospedales.
The World Health Organisation has indicated that the dengue virus alone threatens approximately 3.9 billion people in over 128 countries.
Under the slogan “Fight the Bite, Destroy Mosquito Breeding Sites”, Mosquito Awareness Week focuses on mosquito borne diseases and risks associated with them.
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.
“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 are to manage water storage drums and tanks, and properly dispose of used vehicle tires to prevent mosquitoes breeding,” said Rajesh Ragoo, Senior Technical Officer, responsible for Vector Borne Diseases Prevention and Control at CARPHA.
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 urges all to work as a team to reduce the mosquito populations.
“We need to be more engaging in our battle against mosquito borne diseases which do not recognise boundaries. It means a regional intersectoral approach, greater collaboration between government agencies, non-governmental organisations, and community groups,” said Dr Hospedales.
The Agency provides support to its Member States by enhancing regional surveillance, and the Agency’s capacity for testing mosquito borne diseases and monitoring regional and global developments.
Dr Laura-Lee Boodram, Head of Vector borne Diseases said: “We focus on strengthening capacity in our countries to detect prevent and control the spread of mosquito borne illness, which also involves limiting the spread of mosquito vectors. We are implementing advanced molecular diagnostic laboratory techniques, such as, to better characterise mosquito borne viruses and improve public health prevention and control measures.”