West Bay residents should expect to see more of the mosquito control plane in that area of Grand Cayman as the Mosquito Research and Control Unit increases its effort to keep the dengue virus-carrying Aedes aegypti at bay.
From late last week, the unit will be carrying out its early evening aerial missions on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, instead of Tuesdays and Thursdays as originally scheduled.
The unit stressed that residents who follow basic guidelines to eliminate breeding grounds around their homes and to prevent bites have minimal cause for concern.
The increased patrols come as the Public Health Department revealed that the majority of the people in the eight confirmed cases of dengue fever live in West Bay. One case each has also been reported in George Town and Bodden Town. As of 24 October, eight people were confirmed to have had the disease, including five who contracted the virus locally.
According to the head of the Cayman Islands’ Public Health Department, Dr. Kiran Kumar, 37 suspected cases from Cayman were being or had been investigated by the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre, known as CAREC, in Trinidad. Results of 17 of those have been returned, showing that nine were negative and eight were positive. The results of the other 20 cases were still outstanding as of Friday, 26 October.
Dengue fever is not passed from person to person. Instead, the aedes aegypti mosquito must bite the sick patient in the first week of symptoms, after which he becomes non-infectious, and then must survive for a further eight to 10 days in order to transmit the disease. Those insects destroyed during this period are unable to pass on the disease.
The MRCU assured the public that the insecticides it uses are safe and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States.
Any questions or queries should be directed to MRCU at 949-2557.
Aedes aegypti lives and breeds in and around houses. To avoid their homes becoming breeding grounds, members of the public should take the following precautions:
Drain water from coolers, tanks, barrels, drums and buckets, etc.;
Remove all objects in the yard, e.g. plant saucers, etc. which have water collected in them;
Keep stored water containers covered at all times;
Discard solid waste and objects where water collects, e.g. bottles, tins, tyres, coconut shells etc.
While most mosquitoes bite at dawn or dusk, this mosquito also bites in the day. Long sleeves, long trousers and mosquito repellent are a precaution against bites.