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Jul 13, 2011

Dengue! Rains and mosquitoes; preventive spraying underway

Dengue fever is transmitted by a mosquito borne viral disease that thrives during the rainy season. This is why the Ministry of Health has started a campaign to reduce the mosquito population and prevent the risk of a dengue outbreak. The campaign will continue through August across the country. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

A fleet of eight trucks was sitting at the Central Health Region’s office waiting to kick off the Vector Control Program which will set out to kill mosquitoes across the country to prevent the spread of dengue.

Melinda Guerra, Acting Regional Health Manager, Ministry of Health

Melinda Guerra

“Today we will be having ULV spraying; it’s starting in the Belize District but it is going to be started in every district. We are starting with Central Health Region, then we are moving to the Western Health Region and so on.”

Jose Sanchez

“Why is it so necessary this time of year?”

Melinda Guerra

“As you know, the rainy season started already. If you listen to various media houses, the people are complaining about mosquitoes. So one of the reasons is to control the adult mosquitoes—to kill the mosquitoes—and two; is to prevent a dengue outbreak. Right now we are spraying to control the general mosquitoes that are out there. But regardless, dengue the signs and symptoms will be pain in your eyes, joint pain, usually it would start with fever and then rashes. So those would be the classical symptoms that you would start with.”

Jose Sanchez

“Even with spraying, we do get cases every year. What are the numbers? What does it look like?”

Melinda Guerra

“Well right now, the numbers are not so significant and that’s where we want to keep it. Every three years we have an outbreak. For right now, we more or less for the Belize district we have forty-two cases. But again we are in the rainy season, June just started and we are trying to sensitive the public, put preventative measures out there and this is one of the measures that you will see—the spraying cycle that we are starting in Belize here—urban setting. And then tomorrow afternoon, we’re going to be moving to the villages. So all of these eight trucks will be moving as a team. These trucks are coming from Corozal, Orange Walk, we have trucks from Western Region—San Ignacio and Belmopan—we have four trucks and four trucks here from the Central Health Region. These are the same trucks that will be heading to other districts.”

Stephen Rivers

The team that will spray the country will be headed by Stephen Rivers.

Stephen Rivers, Supervisor, Vector Control Program, Central Health Region

“It’s malathion—ninety-five percent—and we just pump it in the tank and that’s what we use. We have to calibrate the machine so that it sprays out just enough insecticide so as not to harm anybody around.”

Jose Sanchez

“How long does it take before you need to reload?”

Stephen Rivers

“It depends on how much you spray. Every two or three days we reload.”

Jose Sanchez

“The entire team will be going from district to district.”

Stephen Rivers

“In Belize City and every district it will be two days, in every district. An intensive spraying that we are doing for prevention purposes. We haven’t as much dengue cases as last year and that’s why we are starting now for prevention reasons. It will done in the country entirely from district to district—every two days we will be visiting every district—urban and rural areas.”

Jose Sanchez

“There are things that the homeowners and the public can do to help.”

Melinda Guerra

“Of course and that’s where we want to start. What we encourage is to try to collect, store in proper containers and discard water holding containers. The main problem of breeding of mosquitoes is because it holds water. So be it indoors or outdoors, we ask for the control of water holding containers. We also ask if they can put bed wets, if they can close their doors early, in the evening mosquitoes come down. Wear long sleeves; wear mosquitoes repellents, burn fish coils and anti-mosquito repellants. And again if you have any fever, consult your medical provider. The only medication they are encouraged to take is Tylenol, no other medication. We are encouraging homeowners to please open doors and windows so that the insecticide can get inside the house so it can kill the mosquitoes—very important.”

Jose Sanchez

“I know normally when the truck passes that’s a reason to lock up your house.”

Melinda Guerra

“Well its safe, the amount of UVL is safe in small amounts but it is effective to kill the adult mosquitoes. So we are asking the public to please open your windows, open doors so we can have a good outcome.”

The mosquitoes are expected to be around for the next six to seven months. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

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4 Responses for “Dengue! Rains and mosquitoes; preventive spraying underway”

  1. CLEANHEART says:

    IF ONLY EACH INDIVIDUAL WOULD DO THEIR PART IN KEEPING THEIR YARDS AND DRAINS CLEAN WE WOULDN’T NEED HAVE SUCH OUTBREAKS LIKE DENQUE AND MALARIA.
    I BELIE VE THERE MUST BE SOME COURT ACTION THAT CAN BE TAKEN FOR THOSE PEOPLE THAT KEEPS THEIR YARD FILTHY OR THOSE WHO JUST THROW GARBAGE EVERYWHERE.
    I AM SURE THAT WHEN THESE SAME PERSON GO ACROSS THE BORDERS THEY DON’T CARRY THEIR NASTY LIFESTYLE WITH THEM, SO WHY DO IT IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY.

  2. common sense says:

    if city council would clean the drains, where the mosquitoes are bieng born, that is far more effective.worst city council ever!!!

  3. CLEANHEART says:

    common sense you are talking nonsense, this is not the the first outbreak of dengue or malaria, this has been around from the beginning of time ok, dengue is here wether UDP or PUP in power, ok, and yes both citizens and town council most work together to eradicate these dangerous mosquitoes.
    unless we have more UDP mosquitoes and PUP one. I wish you people would take out colors from some issues we discuss.

  4. common sense says:

    @ clean heart it is the UDP that is in government,,2 successive UDP city Council. we pay some of the highest property taxes in the country here in Kings Park yet no drain is ever cleaned. we simply cannot take politics out of this. next you will ask citizens to dredge the canals. so why are we paying 11 city councillors plus Z. you muss di ina ting!!!

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