Small Bite, Big Threat Is Slogan For Caribbean Mosquito Awareness Week.

Image: PAHO. Small bite, big threat is the theme of this year's Mosquito Awareness Week.
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The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is calling countries and territories of the Caribbean to join forces during Caribbean Mosquito Awareness Week 2024, which runs from May 6 to 12.

The aim of the week is to kick start regional efforts to prevent and control dengue, chikungunya, and Zika, diseases transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and to make people aware of how to eliminate mosquito breeding sites near homes.

Under the slogan “United for health”, the Week seeks to raise awareness of the threat posed by these diseases. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of people affected in the region.

So far this year, more than 6.5 million cases of dengue fever have been reported in the Americas, three times more than during the same period in 2023. In the English, Dutch and French speaking Caribbean, more than 25,000 cases have already been reported, surpassing half of what was reported in the entire previous year.

“Dengue is a disease that can be deadly if it is not diagnosed and treated on time, and this year we are seeing a worrying increase in the region,” said PAHO Director Dr. Jarbas Barbosa. “Mosquito Awareness Week is an opportunity for all of us to work together to eliminate breeding sites, stop the spread of these diseases and protect our communities, especially before and during the rainy season,” he added.

Reducing the presence of mosquitos is defininitely a boon to any locationt that depends on tourism. A quick look at TripAdvisor online reveals that tourists to St. Kitts and Nevis advise others to bring mosquito repellants and to buy sprays locally to clear hotel bedrooms before going to sleep.

Reducing mosquito breeding sites will be the the main focus during this year’s Caribbean Mosquito Awareness Week, observed from May 13 to May 17 in Barbados.

It will be held under the theme Small bite, big threat with the slogan ‘Stop disease transmission, start source reduction’.

Each Caribbean territory will stage various events to highlight the importance of eliminating mosquito breeding sites and mosquito-borne illnesses.

The Vector Control Unit of the Ministry of Health and Wellness in Barbados will host a National Mosquito Fair on Friday, May 13, at Golden Square Freedom Park, The City, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The aim is to highlight the integrated measures that government uses to control mosquitoes, and to encourage members of the public to become more involved in mosquito prevention.

There will be display tents on the mosquito life cycle; the morphology of mosquitoes, which will allow visitors to examine specimens under microscopes; and on habitats where mosquitoes are found, including a 3D house to show breeding places around a typical Bajan residence, a rain barrel display, where Environmental Health Officers will show members of the public how to build and secure rain barrels and non-typical breeding sites, such as construction sites.

Visitors to the fair will also learn about the diseases spread by the vector from medical personnel, the treatments of symptoms by pharmacists, and members of the Barbados Red Cross Society will educate persons on how they can protect themselves from diseases.

People will also learn about mosquito surveillance, including mapping and what the Vector Control Unit does to ensure mosquitoes are susceptible to the available chemical control methods. They will also find out about the other control methods that are employed in Barbados, which include the physical and biological.

In addition to the display tents, there will be staged events throughout the day; flash mobs comprising dance groups and Ministry of Health and Wellness staff; skits; and performances by schools and community dance groups.

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