MRCU steps up efforts to combat mosquitoes

| 21/10/2019 | 12 Comments
Cayman News Service
Aedes aegypti mosquito

(CNS): The Public Health Department and the Mosquito Research and Control Unit are working on mitigating the health impact of the current dengue outbreak, officials said in a press release following the confirmation that six people in Cayman have contracted the disease. With three of those infected having no travel history, the authorities are undertaking island-wide community mobilization and awareness initiatives to help prevent the spread of the mosquito-transmitted disease.

The MRCU is increasing its programme with additional measures, including thermal fogging, to kill biting mosquitoes that can transmit the disease, wide-area aerial spraying, truck-based larviciding directed at containers and barrier spraying directed at sites where the Aedes aegypti rest.

“With the current number of cases in the region, medical personnel are on continued high alert to look for any further locally transmitted and imported cases,” said Medical Officer of Health Dr Samuel Williams.

The health ministry issued an initial notification last Friday as part of a measure to activate heightened surveillance for local presence of the disease. This latest regional outbreak has occurred in Brazil, Columbia, Cuba, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, St Martin, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Cayman is impacted from time to time but usually cases are limited to a handful whenever an outbreak occurs, but in 2012 there were 37 case.  Over the last three years, until now, only four cases were reported.

Health Promotion Officer Therese Prehay said awareness was an important fact in limiting any outbreak of dengue.

“While there is the need to amplify surveillance for early detection and appropriate response, there is also a great need to increase awareness among the general population on ways to prevent and protect against further spread of the mosquito-borne disease now that there have been cases of local transmission,” she stated in a press release from government.

“It is important that we ensure our surroundings are clean and free of mosquito breeding sites. Everyone should take it upon themselves to empty, dispose of, or cover any receptacles or containers capable of storing even small amounts of water. This includes used tyres, water storage drums, flower pots and tanks, as these are ideal breeding sites for the mosquitoes. Therefore, these key actions will help prevent mosquitoes breeding, thereby keeping yourself, your families and your community safe,” she added.

MRCU Director Dr Jim McNelly said his team would continue its control efforts to identify and eliminate mosquito breeding grounds, including remote areas, around the islands. But he said it was critically important his staff gained access to homeowners properties to undertake vital surveillance and treatments.

Health Minister Dwayne Seymour urged the community to maintain a clean environment to reduce potential breeding sites. “It will be much, much better for us all in the long run if we stay vigilant, protect ourselves from being bitten and put every effort into stopping this disease early.”

For more advice on mosquito control contact MRCU on 949-2557 or DEH on 949-6696 in Grand Cayman or 948-2223 and 948-2321 in Cayman Brac. 

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Category: Health, health and safety

Comments (12)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What happened to the magical breakthrough that the 2 million GMO released at huge expense to kill the existing population of mosquitoes? Just a free pay check from our government to a foreign company yet again.

    • Anonymous says:

      Idiot, they were to lower the population of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. Grand Cayman has over 35 species of mosquitos, but this one in paticular spreads diseases. These days people will comment on things before even reading information. Even if we did eradicate the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, your a** will still get bitten.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Did anyone know that MRCU’s pellets are mold spores that destroys the mosquitos stomachs? Make Oxitec great again!

  3. Anonymous says:

    WHAT are they going to spray on our plants and herbs?? MRCU please note your workers seem to think that they have a license to spray everything in sight whether or not it constitutes a mosquito breeding ground. If you damage my fruiting trees and herbs, making them unfit for ingestion, you will be getting a bill from me.

  4. Mosquito woes says:

    Proud of you MRCU. Thank you for your continued efforts in keeping Cayman free of ALL breeds of mosquitoes. The department needs to be given credit where credit is due instead of the constant criticism.

    I remain grateful.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I strongly disagree with the call for more intensified open-air fogging on many grounds. Fogging is only moderately effective in the control of the mosquito population. The pesticides used in vector control are neurotoxins and have been linked to adverse effects in humans. Many of these chemicals were originally designed as nerve gasses in chemical warfare. Exposure to neurotoxins, even in low quantities, is also associated with numbness of the lips and tongue, nausea, headaches and respiratory problems. For these reasons, many countries have banned open-air fogging completely. Fogging is also toxic to other insects, such as butterflies and bees and many other animals, including those that are natural predators of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes also develop resistance to chemicals. After fumigation chemical insecticides comes in ecosystem and hyper accumulate in different trophic levels of our food chain. Its accumulation in adipose tissues in higher consumer and causes adverse biochemical changes this problem called biomagnification. These chemical pollute water bodies, soil pollution, and affect biodiversity.

    • Anonymous says:

      and there is the fact that more people than you think still use cisterns

    • Anonymous says:


      the concentration of toxins in an organism as a result of its ingesting other plants or animals in which the toxins are more widely disbursed.

      1) What is the difference between bioaccumulation and biomagnification? Bioaccumulation refers to the accumulation of a toxic chemical in the tissue of a particular organism. Biomagnification refers to the increased concentration of a toxic chemical the higher an animal is on the food chain.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are very correct, Thank you for sharing!

  6. Anonymous says:

    …mitigating the health impact of the current dengue outbreak… Weirdly worded.

    I thought they are concerned with health impacts of additional MRCU measures.

    If one already got dengue, his or her health is impacted. How can you mitigate that?

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