Dengue spikes in Belize City

By Alexis R. Milan Staff Reporter

The Central Health Region has intensified efforts to spray and kill mosquitoes in Belize City after recent data has shown a spike in the number of dengue cases, particularly in the Southside of the city.

Javier Alpuche, senior public health inspector, said their surveillance system has picked up an increase in dengue hemorrhagic fever in Belize City over the past two months. As a result, health officials have intensified their vector control activities and have taken it a step further with the use of six trucks that will be employed for spraying pesticide to eliminate the infected mosquitoes.
Alpuche explained that the spraying would begin on Wednesday evening and would start in the Southside of the City then move into the Northside.

Alpuche explained that three of the trucks and pesticide machines were provided by the Northern Health Region.
Egner Lalin, district supervisor for the Central Health Region, said that it is important for residents to leave their windows and doors open when the trucks pass spraying the pesticide in order for the chemical to kill the mosquitoes in their homes. Lalin said this is necessary especially in the evenings for the spraying to be effective.

According to Lalin, the side-effects of the chemical in the pesticide on humans are minimal. Lalin said that residents need to practice good hygiene in their yards and make sure there is no stagnant water in the area.

Francis Westby, dengue technical advisor from the Ministry of Health, said that people have no reason to worry about the pesticides because they have all been approved by the World Health Organization as being safe for human use. Westby said the vehicles being used were a donation from the Global Fund and are valued at about $75,000 each and the pesticide machines mounted on the back are about $30,000 each.

Westby also said that community support during this process was critical and encouraged residents to throw burned oil into the drains around their area after cooking as it helps to get rid of mosquitoes from stagnant water.
The initiative is being spearheaded by Central Health Region manager ,Melinda Guerra.

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