DOH launches anti-mosquito drive in Metro
The Department of Health (DOH) has started a massive mosquito elimination campaign, targeting construction areas, diggings, stagnant canals and waterways all over the metropolis following the sudden increase in mosquitos in some parts of Metro Manila.
Health Secretary Enrique Ona said the DOH was coordinating with local government units, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to prevent the proliferation of mosquito breeding sites that may arise from ongoing road repairs, diggings and rehabilitation of major thoroughfares.
“This could get worse if we don’t do anything about it now,” Ona said in a press briefing.
The DOH has also adopted the “3D approach”—or detect, destroy and defend—against the nuisance mosquitos.
Ona urged the public to search for and destroy immediately breeding sites such as tires, blocked drainage, flooded diggings and even cracked concrete lids over septic tanks.
He also urged the public to defend themselves against mosquito bites by wearing light-colored, loose fitting clothes, applying insect repellent over exposed skin surfaces and sleeping under mosquito nets.
Meanwhile, health officials also warned the public against the indiscriminate use of insecticide to eliminate mosquitos.
Ona said there was a need for a more responsible use of mosquito coils and household sprays as these could be harmful to one’s health if misused.
“These mosquitos are often found inside homes and indoor spraying may be necessary but highly impractical in Metro Manila,” he said.
He said health problems may exist primarily if residents use products that are not registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
According to FDA Director Dr. Kenneth Go, using insecticide products that are not FDA-registered may result in diarrhea, bleeding and convulsion in severe cases.
“We do not know what type of chemicals were used in these types of products. It could be agricultural [type of pesticide] which is too strong so it is still best to use household insecticides that have passed the FDA standards,” said Go.
“And do not use insecticides as air spray, they’re not air fresheners. They are meant to be used on the ground or behind the furniture to drive mosquitos out,” he added.
The health official also said using insecticide sprays must be done in closed, evacuated rooms which no one should be allowed to enter for two hours.
Ona said space spraying, either misting or fogging, is not routinely recommended but can be resorted to and done only by trained, skilled sprayers to achieve immediate knockdown of adult mosquitos.
Use with caution
“The misuse or overuse of insecticides can lead to insecticide resistance…. it is always best to control mosquito populations at the source,” he added.
The DOH said earlier that the mosquitos swarming the metropolis do not carry diseases such as dengue or chikungunya as they were identified as being the “culex” and “armigeres” varieties—common house mosquitos.
“These mosquitos, while not directly carriers of disease, are nevertheless an indication of a lack of cleanliness in the infested areas,” the DOH said. “A swarm of mosquitos indicates ‘dirty’ communities where there is abundance of breeding sites.”
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