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Health chiefs in Fuerteventura step up action against Aedes aegypti mosquito 

PAGE 13 the mosquito

Health officials in Fuerteventura have been meeting with residents following the discovery of the Aedes aegypti mosquito on the island and relaying preventative advice and recommendations.

Instructions have also been given on the measures they can take in their houses to protect themselves and avoid the presence of this invasive mosquito.

The public health department has been liaising with the Entomological Surveillance System of the Canary Islands, with the main public meeting having taken place in Puerto del Rosario and lasting over three and a half hours.

Those present included the president of the Cabildo de Fuerteventura, Marcial Morales; the Mayor of Puerto del Rosario, Nicolás Gutiérrez; the general director of Public Health, José Juan Alemán; head of the National Entomological Surveillance Network, Javier Lucientes; director of the University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health of the University of La Laguna, Basilio Valladares and Dr. Cristina Pou of the same Institute.

“The General Directorate of Public Health, the health department of Fuerteventura and the University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health, as well as the Ministry of Environment of the Government of the Canary Islands, are working in coordination following the detection of the mosquito to delimit the exact area in which the invasive species Aedes aegypti has been introduced, in order to determine the extent that should be treated to eradicate it, with the collaboration of the Cabildo and the council of Puerto del Rosario,” said a spokesman.

Inspections have taken place in and outside houses in the area where the mosquito was found and some of the properties treated with special disinfectant whilst ensuring safety for residents.This was necessitating vacating premises for 12 hours and residents have been thanked for their co-operation and patience, given it coincided with Christmas.

Recommendations in houses include keeping any areas of water clean and regularly changed, keeping drains dry and spotless, checking plants for eggs and even making sure toilet cisterns are pulled at least once every 24 hours. Even cars have to be sprayed.

The importance of citizen participation is also being stressed and if anyone spots what they think is one of the mosquitos, they are being urged to send details and even photos to the health department on scs@gobiernodecanarias.org. or through the app Mosquito Alert mobile app. They can also send photos of stings that they consider suspicious because of the strong inflammatory reaction accompanied by great stinging.

Whenever photos of specimens or suspicious bites are sent, it is essential to clearly indicate the geographical location where the mosquito was detected or the suspicious bite occurred.