by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Derelict vehicles provide breeding sites for Aedes aegypti mosquitoes
- Recent dengue outbreaks in neighbouring territories
- St Andrew, St John, St George have communities with high mosquito breeding indices
Since the announcement of the removal of abandoned roadside derelict vehicles back in 2016, the Vector Control Unit of the Ministry of Health is still struggling with derelict vehicles that provide breeding of vectors including the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
The announcement came as the Ministry of Health in accordance with Section 39 of the Waste Management Act 16 of 2001 and the Abatement of Litter Act, has stepped up its efforts in eradicating breeding sites for the mosquito known to spread dengue and other viruses following news of outbreaks in neighbouring territories.
The Vector Control Unit continues its campaign to keep the mosquito population down, but vehicles which are left abandoned as well as broken septic tanks, create perfect breeding sites. Supervisor of the Vector Control Unit Justin Hector and members of his team said they are confronted with this challenge on a regular basis when inspecting various sites around the island for mosquito breeding sites. “There are times that in the dry season when there are no containers holding water even when the ravines are dry; what we find is that a lot of the mosquito breeding is found in septic tanks and reciprocals like that. …The issue of derelict vehicles is a major problem because these vehicles can keep water when the rains fall, water stays in them and that can breed mosquitoes.”
Hector insists to the public that mosquito breeding sites, especially broken septic tanks and derelict vehicles must be cleared to fight the dengue menace. “Mosquito from larvae to adult takes between 5 to 10 days. Sometimes it takes months for the Vector control Unit to return to a particular area, because we cover the entire country, so this is why we need people to comply with the law in a timely manner.”
The unit is revisiting communities with high indices of mosquito breeding sites above 5% in order to bring a reduction. Hector said the parishes of St Andrew, St John, and St George all have communities with high mosquito breeding indices. “When we conduct our surveys, we come up with what is called indices. A relatively safe index as we are concerned is around 5% or under in order to break any transmission of diseases. However, there are a few communities which are showing indices higher than 10%, 15% and some in excess of 20%. Since the news broke of the outbreak of dengue in the neighbouring islands, we have been revisiting those communities and continue work there to bring a reduction.”
According to statistics from the unit, approximately 180 cases of dengue were recorded from January to December 2018 which was considered exceptionally high since the country normally records an average of 10 to 15 cases a year.