GREAT BAY(DCOMM):— The Collective Preventive Services (CPS), a government department under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, spearheaded a multi-disciplinary meeting that took place on Monday at the Ministry of Public Health conference room regarding the mosquito-borne Zika virus disease.
The platform guided by CPS will coordinate, monitor and steer actions being taken to combat mosquito-borne diseases.
The multi-disciplinary partners that met on Monday morning were the Princess Juliana International Airport, St. Maarten Medical Center, St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, Public Health Department, Vector Control and Surveillance Officer.
A number of topics were discussed such as a: collective marketing strategy; distribution of public information flyers to stakeholders; information in different languages eg. Spanish, Creole, Mandarin; public information ads at ports of entry; targeted fogging; distribution of mosquito kits; distribution of information from the Caribbean Public Health Agency to the St. Maarten Hotel and Trade Association, ports of entry, with a follow-up discussion with hotels and taxi drivers; and district clean-up parties.
There was also a discussion in preparation for a February 3 meeting health officials from the French Collectivite of St. Martin.
CPS is appealing to the community to step up measures to eliminate mosquito breeding sites in and around their homes and businesses.
Dengue fever, zika and chikungunya are transmitted by the female vector Aedes Aegypti mosquito. The Aedes aegypti mosquito is distinguished by its markings. The body of the mosquito has alternate black and white horizontal stripes. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito lays her eggs in clear (clean) stagnant water. Within eight days the mosquito can complete its life cycle from egg, to larvae to pupae and to adult mosquito.
Actively destroy or dispose of tin cans, old tires, buckets, unused plastic swimming pools or other containers that collect and hold water. Do not allow water to accumulate in the saucers of flowerpots, cemetery urns/vase or in pet dishes for more than two days. Throw out the water and turn them over every time it collects water.
Check around construction sites or do-it-yourself improvements to ensure that proper backfilling and grading is realized to prevent drainage problems which can be a source for standing water. Empty all construction containers such as blue tanks, buckets, paint cans etc.
Mosquitoes can be kept out of the home by keeping windows, doors and porches tightly screened (16-18 mesh). Those insects that do get into structures can be eliminated with a fly swatter or an aerosol space spray containing synergized pyrethrum.
Screen off cistern outlets, cover and screen septic tanks properly.
The aforementioned measures should also be taken in and around the workplace, social gatherings and living quarters to eliminate mosquito breeding sources.
An increase in the mosquito population puts residents and visitors at risk. For information about dengue fever, zika and chikungunya prevention measures, you can call CPS 542-2078 or 542-3003.
Source: St. Martin News Network Multi-disciplinary group meets in preparation for Zika virus.