Island Clean-up Campaign begins next week

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 12, No. 36            September 19, 2002

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Local Health Inspector Javier Alpuche has informed The San Pedro Sun that an island-wide clean-up campaign of residential and business premises will begin Tuesday, September 24th. In preparation for the clean-up campaign, the health inspector and volunteers from the San Pedro Chapter of the Belize Red Cross conducted house to house inspections and interviews this week, advising residents on what to rid their yards of, to ensure the proper health of their environment. A schedule for the campaign has been established for certain areas of the island. During these specific times, San Pedro Town Council trucks will visit residences and businesses to pick up discarded trash which should be collected and contained in proper receptacles, boxes or garbage bags. The schedule dates, times and pick up areas are as follows. September 24th and 25th - Boca del Rio and San Juan areas. September 26th and 27th - Center of town (Barrier Reef Drive, Pescador Drive and Angel Coral Street). September 30th and October 1st - Airstrip area and San Pedrito. October 2nd and 3rd - San Pablo and San Telmo areas. October 4th - New Housing Site. All pickups are scheduled between the hours of 1:00 and 5:00 p.m.

    This clean-up campaign is necessary, in part, because of the presence of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. As a reminder, Dengue fever is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, a "domestic" type of mosquito, which prefers to live in populated areas and not the jungle. This mosquito is described as a "vector," an organism that transmits a disease-carrying germ. If the "vector" bites a dengue-infected person, it can subsequently pass dengue on to the next person it bites. Therefore, dengue cases increase as people cross borders into other countries, because infected persons are deemed "carriers" of the disease. Dengue cannot be spread directly from person to person; only the Aedes aegypti mosquito can spread it.

    Mosquitoes breed in uncovered water containers or anything that can hold standing (stagnant) water including: tires, house gutters (eaves), bottles, tin cans, tree holes, bamboo and coconut shells. Household junk lying around in the yard such as old shoes, toys, plastic lids, plumbing or car parts can also collect water. The female mosquito lays her eggs in these containers and if the eggs are not destroyed within two or three days they become larva (the wingless stage of newly-hatched mosquitoes). If the larva is not destroyed in six to eight days, it hatches into a pupa. If the pupa is not destroyed within two to three days, it becomes an adult mosquito.

    Homeowners and businesses are cautioned to rid their yards of this type of debris and to cover or screen all vats, drums, buckets and watering pans. The general public is warned to take all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of this disease and to eliminate mosquito-breeding areas. Local health officers advise the general public to wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts or blouses and long pants whenever possible during the evening and early morning hours. Also, mosquito repellent is recommended for exposed areas of the body, and doors and windows should be screened to eliminate the chance of being bitten by infected mosquitoes.

    Mr. Alpuche also stated that the dengue/mosquito situation on the island appears to be under control. The San Pedro Town Council continues scheduled Ultra Low Volume aerosol spraying of high-risk, mosquito breeding residential areas.      

    The Ministry of Health advises the following: "If you or any member of your family is experiencing high fever, headache, chills, rash or pain in the joints and muscles, it may be dengue fever. Go immediately to the nearest health care provider, health center or hospital for medical attention. Dengue fever can kill you!"
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