For the first time in many years, Dengue Fever is a real threat to the Cayman Islands, the Government announced last week.
Dengue Fever, while not usually fatal, is nonetheless a very unpleasant disease that usually lasts between 10 days and a month, and can be dangerous if contracted more than once by a person.
That’s the bad news. But there is good news as well.
Cayman’s Mosquito Research Control Unit has the tools to combat the Dengue Fever-carrying mosquito. If there is an outbreak, the MRCU is confident it would be small.
The MRCU has just about completed one of its pre-rainy-season spraying campaigns to hopefully curtail any outbreak of Dengue Fever. The air spraying campaign will recommence in late April or early May.
The war against mosquitoes, however, should not only be waged by the MRCU. The public can make a big difference in the battle, especially against the species of mosquito that carries Dengue Fever.
That mosquito is known as a domestic mosquito, which means it is found primarily near people’s homes. It requires fresh, clean water to breed.
There are a number of places for these mosquitoes to breed in a typical yard in Cayman. A good breeding place could be an empty bucket, a blocked roof gutter, a dog dish, a child’s toy, or anywhere rainwater can accumulate without draining.
Prior to rainy season, which is less than two months away, Cayman Islands residents should all make it their chore to take a walk through their yard to make sure there is no place for rainwater to accumulate. They should also make sure the gutters on their roof are slanted properly and not plugged up with debris to ensure there will be no standing water in them once the rains begin.
But even with a diligent combined effort by the MRCU and the public, there will be mosquitoes here, and some will be the Dengue Fever-carrying species. This is the tropical Cayman Islands after all.
People should therefore take some other precautions as well. If you are outside at any time between late afternoon and early morning it would be advisable to wear long shirts and long pants. Insecticides are also an option.
This is particularly important when Cayman residents travel to other countries in the region this year.
Just because mosquito bites don’t affect some people, doesn’t mean they aren’t getting bitten, and that they couldn’t get Dengue Fever from one of those bites.