Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Kenneth George indicated earlier this year that there have been almost 40 hospitalisations so far this year related to suspected and confirmed cases of dengue fever. He appealed to residents to carry out regular inspections of their premises to eliminate Aedes aegypti mosquito breeding sites.
Senior Medical Officer Dr Leslie Rollock advises Barbadians that if a mosquito bites, to look around their home. She cautioned that even small items like bottle caps may pose risks, as once it is hot enough, mosquito eggs will wait there, dry on the side of a container, and wait until the rain falls to put some water in there and then they will come out and try to complete their life cycle.
So, how do Barbadians safeguard their properties from mosquitoes?
Find and destroy mosquito breeding sites outside your home
- Empty water from containers and scrub them to remove any eggs
Every week, empty and wash out containers with a brush or sponge to remove and prevent mosquito eggs.
- Cover water storage tanks
Always place a tight lid on containers used for water storage so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs.
- Clean roof gutters and drains
This is often an overlooked aspect of inspecting your homes. Sabrina Hoyte of Barbadian family-owned company Gutter Fix, says that they specialise in installing, maintaining, and repairing aluminum, plastic, and copper guttering. The company also aims to reduce the spread of dengue by inspecting properties across Barbados by discharging of dirty and stagnant water. “Guttering is stored on the face board of the roof and sometimes you might not know that your guttering is actually storing water. You might be getting mosquito bites and want to know why you are being bitten so frequently. Sometimes you might have tanks or pipes that are leading towards tanks that might be blocked up by mud, etc.”
- Treat stagnant water with an approved mosquito larvicide
Inside your home
- Use screens on doors and windows and don’t leave doors propped open for mosquitoes to fly inside.
- Weekly, look for and dump out any standing water where mosquitoes lay eggs. These include pots and plants where water can trickle out and collect in the trays. Other areas include bathrooms where water collects into toothbrush holders, basins, and even damp washcloths.
- Check drip pans and dehumidifiers, or under refrigerators or air conditioning units. Even a half-full bucket of dirty water in the laundry room or a pet water dish left out can breed mosquitoes.
This article appears in the April 1 edition of Focus on Dengue. Read the full publication here.