Dengue-prone Zone 7 In Health Dept’s Crosshairs

SIBU: Premises in Zone 7 and other dengue-affected areas nearby were sprayed with indoor residual spraying (IRS) and outdoor residual spraying (ORS) in July.

State Health Department director Dr Jamilah Hashim said all mosquitoes that rest on these sprayed surfaces would die upon consuming sufficient dose of the insecticide residue.

“IRS will be repeated every six months, while ORS is to be repeated every two months,” Dr Jamilah said in a statement to The Borneo Post yesterday.

The densely populated Zone 7 here covers Tiong Hua Road, Hua Khiew Road and Bukit Assek areas. It has been identified as a dengue-outbreak prone area.

Dr Jamilah explained that as dengue and Zika shared the same mosquito vectors, namely aedes aegypti and albopictus, eliminating dengue meant containing the spread of Zika, too.

The standard procedure is to aerosol spray the affected house within 24 hours after a dengue case is lodged. This is in addition to routine fogging using thermal fogging equipment and vehicles mounted with ultra low volume (ULV) sprayer, she said.

Other methods include applying bio control agent (Bti) on aedes breeding grounds once every two weeks. This has been done in Zone 7, especially in areas along Jalan Huo Ping, Jalan Hardin, Jalan Foochow, Jalan Mui Huong, Jalan Emplam and Jalan Lai Chee.

Larvicide is also dropped into toilet flushing systems to kill mosquitoes that might otherwise breed in septic tanks.

Dr Jamilah said from Aug 7 – 13 this year, teams from Lundu, Serian, Simunjan, Sri Aman, Saratok and Bintulu were sent to Sibu to assist in a mass source reduction campaign at Zone 7.

A special Entomology Team in Sibu also collected mosquito samples using mosquito trapping devices.

“Although the mosquito samples indicate low to medium aedes density, the presence of the dengue virus in the aedes mosquitoes collected in a sample indicates that Zone 7 remains highly receptive for dengue transmission.”

Dr Jamilah said steps had also been taken to educate the people in the affected areas to help destroy mosquito breeding grounds. This includes erecting banners that emphasised the importance of doing 10-minute clean up of homes every week. Dengue updates were also placed at strategic locations, including at Premier shopping mall. -BP

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