The sound of the Mosquito Research Control Unit plane buzzing the bush once again is welcomed.
While the noise has the tendency to scare those new to the Islands, those of us who are familiar with the sound know it’s the signal that rainy season is about to start.
And along with rainy season comes a very unwelcome visitor – the mosquito.
MRCU staff is on a mission this year to reduce the population of mosquitoes that carry dengue fever.
Dengue is usually isn’t fatal, but it can be a very unpleasant disease that usually lasts between 10 days to a month.
It can be dangerous if contacted more than once by a person
There is no vaccine for dengue.
The disease is manifested by a sudden onset of fever, with severe headache, muscle and joint pains and rashes. The dengue rash is characteristically bright red and usually appears first on the lower limbs and the chest. In some patients, it spreads to cover most of the body. There may also be gastritis with some combination of associated abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea.
Sounds unpleasant, doesn’t it?
That’s why it is so important for MRCU to keep up efforts to eradicate the mosquitoes.
But it’s not just a problem for MRCU to tackle. The public can also make a big difference.
The mosquito is known as a domestic, which means it is found primarily near people’s homes in fresh, clean water where it breeds.
A good breeding place could be an empty bucket, a blocked roof gutter, a dog dish, a child’s toy or anywhere rainwater accumulates without draining.
Before rainy season actually sets in residents should make a diligent effort to take a walk through their yard to make sure there is no place for rainwater to accumulate.
They should also make sure gutters are slanted properly and not clogged with debris.
Remember that the mosquito usually bites just after dawn and just before sunset.
With that in mind, residents and visitors who are outside at those critical times should wear long sleeve shirts and long pants. Mosquito repellents are also an option.
While the mosquito is the vector that transmits the disease, it is not the carrier. Mosquitoes get the disease by biting humans infected with the disease.
People travelling from the tropics to other parts of the world can easily carry the disease to the country they’re visiting.
So get out there, be vigilant and help MRCU in its battle against the dengue mosquito.