Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 29, 2016 (SKNIS): Keeping the environment clean is paramount to the reduction of mosquitoes, says Chief Environmental Health Officer in the Ministry of Health, Alexander Riley.
Appearing on Wednesday’s edition of “Working for You” (September 28), Mr. Riley explained that an environment where there is a collection of water for mosquitoes to lay their eggs, within seven to ten days there will be adult mosquitoes after the egg has been hatched in the water.
He further explained that the mosquitoes are intelligent and do not actually lay their eggs in the water, but on the surface of the container. So, when the water level rises, the eggs are submerged and then hatched.
“So, imagine a mosquito laying eggs three to four times per week once it gets a blood meal,” said Mr. Riley. “So, it is very important that the general public and even our officers when they go out to ensure that anywhere that can bring mosquitoes [does not contain water]. We try to educate persons because persons might be storing water for other reasons and purposes. So, we have to find a way to get them to understand that even though they are keeping water for some other purposes, it is important that they are taking necessary steps to ensure that they don’t breed mosquitoes.”
The Chief Environmental Health Officer stated that something as small as a bottle cover can breed millions of mosquitoes in a short space of time.
Mr. Riley said that it is known that currently there are premises that are unsanitary, especially empty lots.
“Persons may think mosquitoes cannot be bred there,” he said. “We often find that because of some of our culture, our bad habits, we tend to dump things on person’s lots and it is very unsanitary. We are not creating an environment that is conducive for us but for disease carrying vectors.”
Mr. Riley pointed out that if persons are going to safeguard themselves, they should also safeguard their neighbours.
“It doesn’t make sense that we clean up our yard and dirty someone else’s lot which will then create a situation whereby you would be affected and the neighbourhood would be affected, and once the neighbourhood becomes affected then you have the whole island being affected,” he explained. “So, it is very important that we go out there as officers and ensure that we do what we are supposed to do. The general public also has a part to play in it because they are the ones who most of the time are affected.”
The Chief Environmental Health Officer said that persons should not be afraid to report this type of activity to help ensure a healthy and safe environment.
There are a variety of places that mosquitoes can breed including: old tyres; laundry tanks; uncovered tanks, drums/barrels; discarded buckets and other containers; pet dishes; construction blocks; bottles; discarded tin cans; tree holes and bamboos; bottle pieces on top of walls; old shoes; flower pots and saucers, discarded toys; roof guttering; bromeliad plants, garden containers and tools and brick holes.
Persons are asked to be aware that the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which carries the Zika Virus, does not breed in unsanitary but clear water. The mosquito itself is domesticated and lives in and around homes.