GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Collective Preventive Services (CPS), a government department under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is calling on the community to take action to prevent mosquito breeding. The current rainfall has the potential to increase the number of mosquitos and therefore action is needed.
Preventative measures are needed and will go a long way in preventing one getting dengue of chikungunya.
Dengue fever and chikungunya are transmitted by the female vector Aedes Aegypti mosquito. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is distinguished by its markings. The body of the mosquito has alternate black and white horizontal stripes. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito lays her eggs in clear (clean) stagnant water. Within eight days the mosquito can complete its life cycle from egg, to larvae to pupae and to and adult mosquito.
Persons are therefore requested to keep their homes, yards, neighborhoods and work environment free from potential mosquito breeding sites.
Actively destroy or dispose of tin cans, old tires, buckets, unused plastic swimming pools or other containers that collect and hold water. Do not allow water to accumulate in the saucers of flowerpots, cemetery urns/vase or in pet dishes for more than two days. Throw out the water and turn them over every time it collects water.
Clean debris from rain gutters and remove any standing water under or around structures, or on flat roofs. Check around faucets and air conditioner units and repair leaks or eliminate puddles that remain for several days.
Change the water in birdbaths and wading pools at least once a week. The treatment of ornamental pools should be discussed with the experts. Fill or drain puddles, ditches and swampy areas, and/or remove, drain or fill tree holes and stumps with mortar and regularly treat and monitor.
Eliminate seepage from cisterns, cesspools, and septic tanks. Eliminate standing water around animal watering troughs. Flush livestock water troughs twice a week.
Check for trapped water in plastic or canvas tarps used to cover boats, pools, plastic bags, foam dishes or even plastic cups strewn on the road side.
Clean the dead leaves from banana and coconut trees. Adult mosquitoes prefer to rest on weeds and other vegetation. Homeowners can reduce the number of areas where adult mosquitoes prefer to rest on weeds and other vegetation. Trim overgrown vegetation.
Check around construction sites or do-it-yourself improvements to ensure that proper backfilling and grading is realized to prevent drainage problems which can be a source for standing water. Empty all construction containers such as blue tanks, buckets, paint cans etc.
Irrigate lawns and gardens carefully to prevent water from standing for several days. If ditches do not flow and contain stagnant water for one week or longer, they can produce large numbers of mosquitoes. Report such conditions to the respective government agency.
Mosquitoes can be kept out of the home by keeping windows, doors and porches tightly screened (16-18 mesh). Those insects that do get into structures can be eliminated with a fly swatter or an aerosol space spray containing synergized pyrethrum.
Adult mosquitoes prefer to rest on weeds and other vegetation. Homeowners can reduce the number of areas where adult mosquitoes can find shelter by cutting down weeds adjacent to the house foundation and in their yards, and mowing the lawn regularly. To further reduce adult mosquitoes harboring in vegetation, insecticides may be applied to the lower limbs of shade trees, shrubs and other vegetation. Screen off cistern outlets, cover and screen septic tanks properly.
The aforementioned measures should also be taken in and around the workplace, social gatherings and living quarters to eliminate mosquito breeding sources.
An increase in the mosquito population puts residents at risk. For information about dengue fever and chikungunya prevention measures, you can call CPS at 542-2078 or 542-3003.