MRCU urges vigilance

Staff members of the Mosquito Research and Control Unit are urging residents to take proper control measures around their homes to reduce breeding of the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

This particular mosquito is known to carry dengue fever.

MRCU Research Manager Fraser Allen said, ‘Greater vigilance on the part of residents would compliment the Unit’s routine vector control exercises aimed at eliminating these potentially dangerous mosquitoes.’

MRCU survey officers continually perform house-to-house inspections throughout the Cayman Islands, paying particular attention to highly populated areas such as George Town and West Bay.

Containers are treated with larvicides to kill the mosquito larvae in addition to turning water settlements over in order to prevent the collection of water.

Surfaces where the adult mosquito might rest are also treated with adultcide sprays by the survey crews.

Mr. Allen explained that despite these efforts, public action is still necessary to keep the mosquito population under control, save resources and prevent the spread of mosquito born diseases.

Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae thrive in home settings, where flower pots, vases and water troughs can hold rain water for an extended period of time,’ he said..

He added that discarded garbage such as old tires and toilet bowls often collect rain water and can also facilitate the breeding of the Aedes aegypti.

‘The fact that these mosquitoes breed mostly in domestic environments and as a result of human activity, gives residents a major role to play in eliminating the insect,’ remarked Mr. Allen.

By simply turning over buckets and placing a screen cover over drums used in water collection, MRCU officials say residents can assist with 60 per cent of mosquito control.

While Cayman has not had major incidence of dengue fever, Mr. Allen pointed to outbreaks in a number of regional countries last year including Jamaica and Cuba.

‘Although Cayman remains one of the few Caribbean countries in which local transmission of dengue fever does not occur, widespread regional travel means that from time to time, we do see a number of dengue cases in returning visitors.

‘Infected persons travelling to Cayman present a real possibility of local transmission,’ commented Mr. Allen. He added that this reinforced the need for precautionary measures.

Residents can reduce the risk of mosquito breeding by piercing old containers before disposal, emptying exposed water vessels regularly, and checking for larvae in the following: discarded tires: storm drains; clogged rain gutters; plant pots; holes in trees; animal watering troughs; tarps; bird baths; pools; ponds; rain barrels; boats; and children’s toys.