There could be an increase in mosquitoes, due to moderate tropical storm Eleanor. It will be necessary to eliminate water accumulations, says Dr Diana Iyaloo. She is the head of the biology and vector control division of the Ministry of Health.

Moderate Tropical Storm Eleanor could have a dual effect on the dengue epidemic. On one hand, the system could be beneficial because the winds could eliminate adult mosquitoes. However, the showers could also lead to accumulations of water, thus encouraging a further proliferation of mosquitoes. This would occur two to three weeks after the rains. This is what Dr Diana Iyaloo, head of the biology and vector control division, explains. However, health authorities have planned a strategy to remedy this problem. But its success will depend on citizen participation and responsibility.

Tip of the iceberg

The current dengue outbreak is unprecedented, according to Dr. Kursheed Meethoo-Badulla, Regional Public Health Superintendent at the Ministry of Health. She notes a significant increase in the number of dengue cases on a daily basis. “We have never recorded more than 30 to 50 new cases per day during previous epidemics,” she observes.

This increased incidence is attributed to the presence of the tiger mosquito, a vector of dengue fever, specifies Dr Iyaloo. A survey conducted by the Biology and Vector Control Division revealed the widespread presence of the tiger mosquito across the country. Thus, the number of 1,300 cases of dengue recorded since December 11 represents only the tip of the iceberg, explains Dr Badulla. Because these are only the reported cases. “For any infectious disease, all reported cases represent only a fraction of actual cases. There are many more than those officially reported,” she adds.

This increase in mosquitoes is due to climate change, which leads to heavy rains and accumulations of water. The increase in temperatures also favors the proliferation of tiger mosquitoes, specifies Dr Iyaloo.

She notes that the incidence of the tiger mosquito in January was twice that for the same month in 2023. “Apart from areas treated to reduce the incidence of mosquitoes, their presence is much stronger in other regions of the island, compared to last year,” she says.

Climate change

Dr Iyaloo also points out that last winter was not cold enough, which did not allow a sufficient reduction in the number of mosquitoes during this period. “With a winter in which the temperature does not drop below zero degrees to interrupt the proliferation of mosquitoes, we have these insects all year round,” she explains. This situation is exacerbated by the El Niño phenomenon, in force since last year, which has led to a “warming” of winter with milder temperatures. Although mosquito density decreased sixfold in winter, this is not enough to interrupt disease transmission, she adds.

The head of the biology and vector control division also explains that temperature impacts mosquito development in different ways. Eggs develop more quickly when temperatures are higher, and larvae become adults within a week instead of two weeks in winter. “If we had winters like in the past, with temperatures below 15°C for several days, this could help reduce the number of mosquitoes and have a significant effect on this type of insect. This is why mosquitoes are more present in warmer regions,” she adds.

Authorities have taken measures to counter the proliferation of mosquitoes and, by extension, the dengue epidemic, according to Eshan Fareedun, director of health services. Even if the epidemic is serious, according to him, after two months of prevalence, no one can say that it has become endemic. “The situation is under control. Everything is done to prevent the proliferation of mosquitoes,” he assures.

According to him, all necessary measures are being taken. Screening is rapid, larvicide treatments prevent proliferation, larval breeding sites are sprayed. In addition, talks are organized in the community and schools. Brochures on precautions to take against mosquitoes are distributed.

According to the various stakeholders, the success of all these measures will depend on the participation of the population. Measures to take include removing water accumulations and protecting against mosquito bites.

Ten days off

According to established protocol, people suffering from dengue fever benefit from ten days off. These sick leave days are not additional to the annual number already provided for by the Workers Rights Act. Thus, in the event of dengue infection, these ten days will be deducted from the fifteen days granted per year.

Leave a reply below

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Contact Business

Captcha Code