I SERVED as a medical officer for many years in Penang before I went abroad. I’m back now to live the rest of my life quietly and peacefully here. However, I am concerned about the frequent outbreaks of dengue fever.
Remember the catchphrase “Tiada Aedes, tiada dengue” and the public awareness attempts in the past to get the public to prevent the spread of the disease?
We have to keep it up, and to do so we have to look at all the possible sites the Aedes mosquito can breed. I see discarded plastic bags and glass containers (broken or otherwise) in public places. Perhaps some were deliberately left behind to feed stray animals, for example.
Council cleaners should be told to get rid of them as a higher priority than just sweeping leaves from the roads and other public places. Of course, the public should also play their part and remember that their inaction may cause the death of an otherwise healthy person. It is such a great loss to the nation as dengue very often affects healthy and young people who are the future of our country.
How much work has been done to identify other less well-known breeding sites? I recall being told that mosquitoes were found breeding in monsoon drains and in the leaves of plants like bromeliads.
I recently collected water from some of these plants and found larvae inside. I did not have the resources to identify the species, however.
As an experiment, I put Abate® in every cluster of the plant’s branches and was pleasantly surprised to find no more larvae upon checking several weeks later.
I have noticed that private organisations and even individuals are carrying out fogging to get rid of mosquitoes. With the on-going outbreak, health staff are also frequently fogging at dengue hot spots.
I’m now wondering if the mosquitoes have developed resistance to the insecticides used in the fogging operations. Should research be done to check on this very important means of outbreak control?
DR ANG LI HEAN