Mosquito Awareness Week: Aedes Aegypti Mosquito
The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is generally active from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. because it likes light.
It is black and white in colour and the larvae lie at a 90-degree angle. It likes clean water, but does not need water to breed. It tends to bite and feed from 7 to 10 a.m. and again from 4 to 6 p.m.
A senior health officer told Nation Online there has been a move towards LED lighting because it is brighter and saves energy, but this is affecting the breeding habits of mosquitoes.
“When you change your light to LED, the Aedes Aegypti is now biting up to 11 and 12 at night like the culex because that light is tricking the mosquito and making it believe it is daytime. My advice to you, if you are in the house, don’t use that light unless it is necessary,” he said.
After the two feeding stages – known as the crepuscular stages – mosquitoes then look for water to lay eggs.
“That is why fogging goes on around 4:30 in the evening. We are fogging to capture the Aedes Aegypti mosquito,” the official said, adding the fogging mixture comprised one part malathion and 23 parts diesel.
He admitted fogging was only effective in killing the adult.
Since the mosquito feeds in the day, usually when a person is at home or at school, he urged residents to play their part in keeping those places clean.
“Treat the workplace as if it is the home. If you see water, don’t say ‘I don’t live down here, that is not my thing’ because you could leave home well and go to an environment and get sick,” he advised.
The Aedes Aegypti spreads yellow fever, dengue, zika and chikungunya.
There is no yellow fever in Barbados. The virus is present in the howler mosquito and is transmitted when an infected mosquito bites a human. Barbados is home to the green money, but howlers are present in other Caribbean nations.
Dengue fever is also spread by this mosquito. It has four serotypes, one to four. The classical dengue fever symptoms include headache, fever, joint pains, back pains, conjunctivitis, retro orbital pain (pain when you move the eyes), sweating and thirst.
If a person contract sone type, the body becomes immune to it, but can still contract another. It takes 18 months to two years to recover and it that person is bitten again in that time, it could progress to dengue haemorrhagic fever if the body is weakened.
As cells inside the body rupture, bleeding can occur from the ears, mouth and skin and appear in the faeces.
If left untreated, the person could die from dengue shock syndrome.
The different serotypes can be determined by a blood test done at the
Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory here in Barbados.
Zika is also spread by the Aedes Aegyti mosquito. The symptoms are similar to those of dengue and can also be transmitted through sex and blood transfusions. There is no treatment or vaccine.
A pregnant woman who contracts zika is at risk of the unborn child developing microcephaly.
Adults can also develop Guillain-Barre syndrome which can cause paralysis in adults and can also affects the nerves, throat and tongue, causing problems with swallowing.
Chikungunya symptoms develop between two to 12 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The symptoms are similar to dengue, including a high fever, but the pain is more intense, especially in the joints and tendons. There is no cure, but treatment is towards relieving the symptoms. (Nation Online)