Nearly a month into the rainy season and on the heels of a near-miss by a potential tropical cyclone, Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh warned the public of the health risks related to venturing into flood waters.
Speaking during the ministry’s media briefing on Wednesday, Deyalsingh said, “Do not go into flood waters. It will help (health officials), and you manage the spread of water-bourn diseases, which could be deadly.”
He said if it is necessary to enter flood waters to save someone’s life or property, it should be done cautiously and with the added protection of rain boots, gloves and other protective gear to prevent exposure to diseases such as leptospirosis (caused primarily by rat urine).
“(But) to go in it and splash around, that is discouraged.”
He said it is a serious issue that the ministry is forced to address every rainy season.
Deyalsingh also emphasised the importance of personal responsibility in preventing mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever.
“People often ask why we don’t spray (mosquito repellent) more often, but we can’t spray more than a three-four month cycle, or the mosquitoes become resistant.
“We urge people to do an investigation in your yards and eliminate all sources where mosquitoes can breed, (including) any source of stagnant water.”
Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram said the spraying programme is run by the insect vector control division of the ministry.
He said truck-mounted sprays pass through communities periodically as a preventative measure to deal with adult mosquitoes and thermal fogging, done with a small handheld device, is used to access households and other areas the truck-mounted sprays cannot reach.
“Both are used to knock down adult mosquitoes very quickly. Spraying happens throughout the year, but the key to maintaining a mosquito-free environment is source control. Keep your environment as clean as possible to prevent breeding Sites.”