Wednesday, 11 October 2023
The mosquito control studies carried out specifically by the Ministry of Health and the Department of Primary Health Care are “far from solving the problem“, the Association of Biologists has said, Kibris Postasi reports.
A written statement issued by the Association of Biologists said that it had discovered that Aedes albopictus, also known as the “Asian Tiger Mosquito”, which causes diseases caused by Dengue Fever, West Nile, Yellow Fever and Zika viruses, and especially allergic reactions, had seen in the country in June 2022.
The Asian tiger mosquito is likely to transmit a number of serious viral infections to humans, the association noted, adding the following:
“Asian tiger mosquito or Aedes albopictus; It is a bloodsucking mosquito species native to Southeast Asia, distinguishable from other species by the white stripes on its body and legs, and is active especially during the day. For this reason, conventional methods other than resource control through ‘Biological Larvicides’ in water resources do not make any sense in the fight against this mosquito.
“In summary, driving around with vehicles in the usual way and spraying toxic chemicals into the air in the evening is ineffective in this fight.
“West Nile Virus, where the main host is wild birds, is a type of viral infection transmitted by mosquito bites. It is a disease transmitted to humans through the bite of Culex mosquitoes, which breed in polluted water sources and are abundant in our country, as well as the Asian Tiger Mosquito. The virus transmitted by Culex mosquitoes, which are known to exist in our country, is especially effective on horses and humans. This disease is not transmitted directly from person to person, but it can reach very serious levels if mosquito breeding sources are not controlled. Potentially life-threatening, West Nile Infection causes many neurological symptoms”.
The association criticised the Ministry of Health and the Department of Primary Health Care, which it accused of not taking any precautions, and said, “Our concern is that if the necessary precautions are not taken and the right methods are not chosen, the incidence of these mosquito-borne diseases may increase and become a threat to our citizens“.
Using the right products, could effectively combat the spread of the mosquito*, the association said.
It added that there had been moves “to terminate the biological control programme against mosquitoes, which we have been continuing in cooperation with the Ministry of Health for more than 20 years. In this regard, the Association of Biologists was completely excluded from the committee we formed as relevant stakeholders together with the Ministry of Health, and the process was completely handed over to the representatives of the chemical pharmaceutical companies“.
To date, three people in North Cyprus have been hospitalised by the affects of this particular mosquito bite. One of those infected, an 82-year-old man who already had chronic health issues, died on Saturday.
*It has been reported in the Greek Cypriot press that a laboratory in Larnaca is importing sterile male mosquitoes to Cyprus, where they are released to mate with females. The females then lay infertile eggs, thus controlling the population, and potentially leading to an eradication of the mosquito from the island. The results, so far, have been promising, the report said. [Ed.]