Big clean-up coming to clear dengue fever

Monday September 02, 2019 Written by Published in Health
Ministry staff have been spraying the heavy-duty insecticide Deltamethrin and the larvicide VectoBac around the homes of people diagnosed with dengue, right out to a 400 metre radius. 14030402 Ministry staff have been spraying the heavy-duty insecticide Deltamethrin and the larvicide VectoBac around the homes of people diagnosed with dengue, right out to a 400 metre radius. 14030402

The number of people being diagnosed with dengue fever has fallen off dramatically, the Secretary of Health says.

 

Speaking to Cook Islands News last night, Dr Josephine Aumea Herman said that was good news – but people could not afford to be complacent.

"It's on its way out but it's not gone," she said.

Next month, she and the Ministry of Health would be working proactively with the National Environment Service on a clean-up day.

The object, again, would be to target and clean up areas where mosquitoes might breed. There are usually stagnant or standing pools of water, such as tyres and containers left outside and allowed to fill with rainwater.

She urged people to act to deal with any such water hazards.

The Ministry has had traps out to identify where there are adult mosquitoes or larvae.

"There are a few hotspots we want to get on top of," Dr Herman said. "That means getting rid of the mosquitoes."

Nobody is under any illusions about how challenging this is: a report shows that around the hospital alone, electric traps at the maintenance office caught more than 10 adult mosquitoes in the past month, and another five in the basement of the medical ward.

There are 44 traps placed around the airport and, over the past month, mosquito larvae were found in five of them: at Raro Freight, the solar panel, the pond, Raro rentals and Turamatuitui. Other traps around the wharf and Punana Nui market could not be checked, because of rain.

In Aitutaki, larvae were found in traps at three sites over the past month: the hospital, the airport and the harbour.

Ministry staff have been spraying the heavy-duty insecticide Deltamethrin and the larvicide VectoBac around the homes of people diagnosed with dengue, right out to a 400 metre radius. There were two cases diagnosed this month, one on August 9 and one on August 15.

By the last week, 81 dengue cases had been reported since the outbreak in January.

Twenty-two were confirmed cases while 59 had been deemed "probable". Forty-two people had been admitted to hospital, and since discharged.

Three cases were on Aitutaki; all the rest were on Rarotonga.

The dengue outbreak was officially declared on February 27 following a New Zealand laboratory test confirmation of seven type 1 cases. A ministry situation report says Rarotonga and Aitutaki are the only islands affected. Most of the cases have been from Rarotonga.

The Ministry of Health says dengue is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito species, which also carries Zika and Chikungunya virus. Another mosquito species, Culex, transmit other vector-borne diseases. A vector is an organism that does not cause disease itself but which spreads infection by conveying pathogens from one host to another. 

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