By Marion V. Ali
The Central Health Region’s Vector Control Unit, responsible for spraying Ultra Low Volume (ULV) insecticide to control the population of the Aedes aegypti mosquito which causes dengue, has only one working spraying truck, but dengue cases are still lower when compared to the same period in 2013.
Latest information shows that from January to June of this year, the number of dengue infections was significantly lower.
Egner Lalin, District Supervisor for the unit, told The Reporter that the cases that are showing up with the same symptoms turn out to be people suffering from chikungunya, another virus transmitted by the same mosquito.
The vector control unit has for years relied heavily on spraying ULV insecticide, but coupled with its lack of resources to reach its nine zones in Belize City and other areas in the Belize River Valley area, the unit has run into problems.
Environmental hazards The same ULV that kills the Aedes aegypti mosquito also has major impacts on plant life, reports say.
This is because the toxicity in the ULV chemical also poses a serious environmental hazard to many plants, and this has brought about a number of civil matters against the unit for destruction of crops.
Clean-up, an alternative
This has led the unit to become more innovative, and it has since collaborated with the Belize City Council to take a more interactive approach.
It is now encouraging behavioural change among the citizenry. Through Communication for Behavioural Impact (COMBI) project, sponsored with funding from the European Union and the Pan American Health Organization, more focus is placed on the government taking an interactive approach to sensitizing people on the importance of keeping their immediate surroundings free of trash and junk that attract the mosquito.
The unit still conducts spraying in the “hot zones” from May through November, then again in January.