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Gov’t To Release Sterile Mosquitoes To Combat Dengue

Rudolph Brown/Photographer Dr. Christopher Tufton, (second left), minister of health looks at the In 2 Care mosquito-control system with (from left) Odean Bradshaw, marketing and business development manager of Hardware and Lumber Agro; Audrey Hinchcliffe, CEO and chairman, Manpower and Maintenance Services (MMS) Ltd and Caribbean Health Management Ltd; Raoul Persuad, account executive, Univar Environmental Sciences; and Olive Downer Walsh, deputy CEO of Hardware and Lumber Ltd. They were at a client seminar on mosquito-borne diseases hosted by MMS Ltd in collaboration with Caribbean Health Management Ltd and H&L Agro at Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston yesterday. The In 2 Care is a double killing agent (larvacide and fungicide) that attracts Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, contaminates and uses them to infect breeding sites so they can no longer transmit diseases.

Gov’t To Release Sterile Mosquitoes To Combat Dengue

Come March next year, the Government will begin releasing half a million sterile male mosquitoes into the environment per week to help slash the population of the female Aedes aegypti, which is responsible for spreading the deadly dengue virus.

“There are three ways to sterilise mosquitoes. You can sterilise them using a genetic method, using radiation, as well as a bacteria called Wolbachia,” Sherine Huntley Jones, head of the Vector Control Programme within the Ministry of Health, told TheGleaner yesterday.

“Jamaica is using the radiation methodology. At the National Public Health Laboratory in Kingston, we are into mass production of mosquitoes. We are now standardising our procedure for mass growing, with the intention of rearing enough males so we can sterilise and release them.”

Jones said that standardising factory procedures is the final stage before mass production of sterile male mosquitoes can take place.

She was speaking with The Gleaner at the Spanish Court Hotel, Valencia, during a seminar titled ‘Mosquito-Borne Diseases: Dengue Fever Impact on the Workforce and Communities’, which was the brainchild of the Manpower and Maintenance Services Limited and held in collaboration with the Caribbean Health Management Consultants Ltd and H&L Agro.

“Males do not transmit disease. Males do not bite. When you hear we are releasing mosquitoes, do not panic! The females are the ones that bite. They need the blood to develop eggs. So we will release the males with view of them mating with wild females to reduce the population,” Jones pointed out.

“We are projecting to start releasing by March 2020. We have about a million in the lab. If you go there now, you would witness the mosquitoes going through the processes. We keep them in cages and feed them on human blood from the Blood Bank and other blood as well.”

Guest speaker Dr Christopher Tufton, who is also the health minister, admitted that desired results in reducing the local female mosquito population were not being achieved through fogging because of developed resistance.

Said Tufton: “We cannot engage the same approach to tackling and controlling the mosquito population, like fogging and applying chemical to water. We visited Cayman and looked at their mosquito-control centre. They told us the mosquitoes used to literally bite cattle till death. Mosquitoes are not so much of a nuisance [there] anymore.

“So what we do is go out, collect samples, breed them, and dissect them. Through the unit, we have discovered that there is a new species of mosquito in Jamaica, which we never knew of before. So we have to apply different methods to control it,” Tufton pointed out.

As of February 8, there were 1,166 suspected, presumed or confirmed dengue cases since the start of the year. There were 1,023 such cases in 2018.

There have also been a number of suspected deaths from the illness.

Source: Gleaner

Manpower And Maintenance Services Limited To Host Seminar On Dengue Fever

To show its appreciation for the partnership forged with its clients, Manpower held its annual Client Seminar in February 2019. The theme of the event was “Mosquito Borne Diseases: Dengue Fever: Impact on the Workforce Productivity and Communities.

The Seminar which is also sponsored by and H&L Agro, will be opened by Minister of Health Dr. the Honourable Christopher Tufton and is accessible to both clients of the Company as well as members of the public. It will seek to heighten awareness about the diseases associated with the mosquito, with a focus on dengue fever.

According to Chairman and CEO of MMS, Audrey Hinchcliffe, “Given the nature of our business we see it as part of our responsibility to help to spread the word and change attitudes and behavior concerning these diseases which are directly related to how we dispose of waste and manage the environment in which we live.” Mrs. Hinchcliffe said, “Because we have become accustomed to having mosquitoes around, and despite our experience with Chik V and the Zika virus, many persons still do not understand that mosquitoes are deadly pests and that we can and should do much more to control their numbers in our homes and communities.” This is an effort, she added, “to provide vital information on the impact of these diseases on our workforce and by extension our communities and country and provide strategies for control.”

The Seminar will include presentations from several experts representing a wide cross section of areas on topics such as: The Epidemiology of Dengue Fever; Diagnosis and Treatment Protocols; Infection Control; Decreasing Exposure: Pest Management and Control; Impact on Worker and Community Productivity; Mitigation Strategies and Resource Requirements. A panel discussion will explore the impact on communities and sectors of the economy, including tourism.


Source: Gleaner