St. James Health Authorities have raised concerns about the community’s Aedes Index, the indicator of the geographic distribution of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries the dengue virus, as it rose from 11.5 percent in May to 13.2 percent in May September has risen signs that it will continue to rise.
Sherika Lewis, the acting chief inspector of public health for St. James, announced the forecast at the monthly meeting of St. James Municipal Corporation yesterday.
“In September 17,656 premises were inspected, 2,341 of which were positive for mosquito breeding. That puts the Aedes index at 13.2 percent, ”said Lewis. “We have inspected more than 3,000 additional premises since August, so the Aedes index is expected to rise.”
The latest Aedes index is a sharp jump from the 11.5 percent reported in August and far from the record low of 6.2 percent for the community in May this year.
Lewis said a key factor contributing to the increase in mosquito breeding grounds is improper securing of water containers by homeowners.
“We inspected 56,000 containers [during September]4,200 of them were positive for mosquito breeding. So we would ask residents, while you may keep water in containers, that you must take every precaution to ensure the containers are properly covered to prevent mosquitoes from entering and spreading, ”said Lewis.
Lewis said the St. James vector control program, which works daily to control the mosquito population, is expected to resume operations in two weeks.
“The expanded vector control program, which had 94 task workers, ended on October 2nd. We have a planned resumption time for October 20th and hope to keep all 94 workers, ”she informed the community of the Group.
The St. James Elevated Mosquito Aedes Index is extremely worrying, with the community seeing 568 confirmed COVID-19 infections and 12 deaths as of Wednesday, the highest in Cornwall.
In March, then-Mayor of Montego Bay Homer Davis suggested that a combination of the coronavirus pandemic and dengue fever outbreak could pose a significant health dilemma.