New Haven fears dengue outbreak
For the residents of New Haven, St Andrew, the recent rains have brought more than just flooding; they have also increased the likelihood of an outbreak of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue.
When THE STAR visited the community on the weekend, there were areas that were inundated with stagnant water as well as heaps of plastic bottles and old appliances. A walk through the community highlighted a number of mosquito-breeding sites.
Eyon Wallace, who operates his woodwork shop in the community, said "The fogging just make the mosquito dem just get wickeder, it just get worse."
Another resident, Jennifer Handslip, believes the community cannot handle dengue while facing the coronavirus pandemic.
Dengue and Corona
"Yuh can look in the water and see the ticky-ticky dem weh cause the mosquito dem. Dengue out, corona in; when the two a dem mix together wah happen now? Yuh affi think 'bout the two a dem. And the dengue bad just like the corona!" she said.
Sherine Huntley-Jones, medical entomologist and national programme manager for vector control in the health ministry, said New Haven is one of the high-risk communities in the Kingston and St Andrew health district.
"It's an area we would monitor frequently and conduct fogging and oiling exercises, especially after it rains. As it relates to breeding sites, water collects in any container that is able to hold water, and the New Haven area is known to have both pooling of ground water, which will breed biting nuisance mosquitoes, and container breeding mosquitoes, which is the Aedes aegypti," she said.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito is responsible for spreading the dengue fever virus.
Some residents in New Haven have resorted to pouring oil into pools of water themselves instead of waiting for the health authorities. Others have filled old appliances with sand to stop mosquitoes from breeding.