A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 243
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Mosquito viruses have not spiked, and spraying is called into question
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
with wire service reports

Health officials are expecting a spike in the number of cases of mosquito-born diseases in the wake of Hurricane Otto. But so far such diseases have dipped.

In the case of zika, only about 30 new cases a week are being reported. There have been 1,553 confirmed cases in the country this year with the bulk being on the Pacific coasts.

Dengue produces many more cases, but the illness does not have the dangers associated with zika. There have been 21,439 reported dengue cases this year.

The total of chikungunya infections is 3,298. In all cases, the numbers are just those who sought hospitalization. Many have zika but with out strong symptoms, researchers have noted.

With standing water left after the passage of the hurricane in the northern zone and similar water problems in the southwest part of the county, officials are stepping up spraying.

That may or may not be a good idea.

An analysis of ways to control the mosquito diseases concludes existing methods are not ideal and may even be counterproductive. Costa Rica's Ministerio de Salud reported it has sprayed nearly 700,000 homes.

But there is a lack of clear evidence as to what works best,

according to the review of studies looking at mosquito control interventions, a summary said. In the report published in PLoS Neglected Diseases, author Paul Hunter of the University of East Anglia in Britain and colleagues looked at a variety of control strategies that have been used over the years and reviewed their effectiveness.

While some studies showed that chemical spraying was up to 76 percent effective in reducing mosquito populations, others suggested that spraying had little effect, according to wire service reports.

Biological controls, such as introducing larvae-eating fish to water where mosquitoes are breeding, appeared to be better at reducing their numbers.

Hunter said chemical spraying might create a false sense of security among people in areas infested with disease-carrying mosquitoes, who are then less likely to try to remove areas around their homes where mosquitoes might breed.

The World Health Organization recommends a variety of measures to control mosquito populations, including educating local populations on how to eliminate those breeding sites.

Hunter concurred that community education is key in helping to break the disease transmission cycle, but he called for more attention to be paid to the availability of resources for mosquito elimination strategies. He noted public health funding tends to be lowest in low- and middle-income countries where mosquito-transmitted diseases are endemic.

Vacation, travel and hospitality


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Real estate-related services (paid category)
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