PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – “Government continues the fight , but the only way that we will win the war against mosquitos, is if the population is well informed and engaged” said Minister Lee during the Council of Ministers Press briefing on Wednesday.
It is as known fact that the Zika virus is spreading throughout the region, and there is some level of presence in St. Maarten. Currently, the Dutch side has 8 confirmed cases, and the French side 61 cases. Puerto Rico reports a whopping 707 cases of the Zika Virus.
The Ministry of Public Health Social Development & Labor has just concluded a field trial of a lethal ovitrap system which was deployed in the Fort Willem area. Lethal ovitraps use the egg laying urge of the female mosquito by providing a breeding site that kills the adult mosquito, and all of the eggs.
During the briefing on Wednesday, Minister Lee shared the results of the trial. He stated that when the ovitraps were installed and maintained properly, it was effective. Control traps in the area in some cases, showed a complete elimination of the aedes aegypti mosquito which carries the virus.
However, throughout the field trial, we found that many people did not eliminate other mosquito breeding places around their homes. “There is no point in installing ovitraps if, there are other breeding sites right next to them” stressed the Minister.
“This is not a war that can be won quickly. Currently the ministry is hiring a vector control specialist to make a plan for the entire island. This will also involve close cooperation with the French side as well. We are also working together with Curacao and Aruba on ideas to help solve this issue” concluded Minister Lee.