THE BOTTOM- In the aftermath of the hurricanes many areas have experienced more mosquitoes than ‘normal’. “To fight against mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue, Zika and Chikungunya, we gave pregnant women free mosquito nets”, says Head of The Department of Agriculture, Hygiene and Vector Control Randall Johnson.
In June 2016, the Caribbean region experienced the peak of the Zika outbreak, and the In2Care mosquito traps were placed on the island. “Measuring the effectiveness of the traps is a very difficult research, as there are many factors influencing the number of mosquitoes and Zika cases on Saba”, says Dr. Koen Hulshof, public health doctor.
The SCID Foundation (Science against Caribbean Insect-borne Diseases) has recently donated 40 In2Care mosquito traps to Saba, with 80 refills for these traps. The SCID Foundation (Science against Caribbean Insect-borne Diseases) is a charitable foundation which mainly focuses to stop the spreading of insect-borne diseases in the Caribbean. “A training will be conducted for our employees to help better monitor and analyse data statistically with using tools such as tablets instead of paperwork,” says Johnson.
“Currently, there is no Zika virus circulating on Saba. However, there is a low level circulation on larger neighbouring islands, leaving the risk of the reintroduction of the Zika virus to Saba still there”, states Dr. Hulshof. “Compared to our sister islands, our products are far ahead of theirs”, adds Johnson.
“Another means to control mosquitoes is the guppies that live in the cisterns. They eat the mosquito eggs and larvae however, persons who fix their cisterns should note that cement paint kills these guppies which leads them to breed”, according to Johnson.
“We are living on a tropical island where the grass grows quick due to an increase in rainfalls. We need to monitor the traps to see if there are results in the near future. Keeping the surrounding grass around the Day Center is of high priority. Persons should also keep in mind that any kind of litter that is nearby such as a soda can give the mosquitoes an opportunity to breed”, says director of Laura Linzey Day Care Center Margret Child.
Lucille Hassell Director Saba Artisan Foundation agrees, “Yes, we still have mosquitoes biting us however, the water spout system is not well in our building due to Hurricane Irma. The poor drainage from the system allows mosquitoes to still breed. However, we have no litter in the surrounding area.”