Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 21, 2016 (SKNIS): Local retired entomologist Dr. Sam Rawlins said that it is possible to reduce the prevalence of the zika-carrying aedes aegypti mosquito if all members of the community become involved in what he terms “integrated vector management.”
“I’m preaching the message of integrated vector management for disease transmission interruption,” Dr. Rawlins said. “And what I mean by that, is using all the tools that we have and using them in a rational combination of all the methods. We and our partners can collaborate in reducing these habitats and using the various tools because there’s a whole range of tools that we have.”
Dr. Rawlins explained that while there are approximately 13 species of mosquito on-island, the one that causes the greatest threat is the aedes aegypti mosquito because of its disease-carrying capability.
The integrated method includes using tools such as environmental control that involves emptying and removing containers that can hold water, as well as chemical control that involves things like dropping temephos, which has the brand name of abate, into containers that are used to store water. Not much faith was placed in fogging as houses are sometimes not open to let in the chemical, and additionally, the aedes aegypti is so adaptable that it has developed insecticide resistance to certain chemicals that have been used previously.
“Chemical control is not the end all, but I know that we do like to think that the government is on the jog (carrying out fogging),” Dr. Rawlins said. “We come back again to the environmental control, we are going to have to go back and ensure that we are eliminating the habitats because that is the best tool at our disposal.”
Another tool mentioned by Dr. Rawlins was personal protection such as using spray-on mosquito repellants and wearing long-pant and long-sleeved garments to protect from being bitten by mosquitoes. He emphasized that eliminating the aedes aegypti mosquito is not a governmental duty, but the responsibility of all members of society.