How to remove the mosquitoes from your home and avoid the need to spend time outdoors when you’re sick?
A new approach is coming from the Dublin Health Authority, and it’s not easy to be a mosquito-removal expert.
Dr Helen Connolly has been studying the health risks associated with mosquitoes for more than 25 years.
She has worked as a consultant for the Government, the Irish Medical Association and the Medical Research Council.
Dr Connolly says the health hazards associated with the spread of the mosquito-borne diseases dengue and chikungunya are “incredibly serious”.
“If you get infected, you have a very high chance of dying,” she says.
“If there’s no treatment, there’s a very, very high risk of developing the symptoms of dengua.”
She says if you have been to the US, you’ve heard the term “bug repellent”.
“That’s really good advice because it’s probably the best you can get,” she adds.
“There are lots of different kinds of repellents out there.
The thing that we are really keen to do is to take a step back and look at the facts.”
What does it take to be mosquito-free?
The National Health and Medical Research Institute of Ireland (NHMI) is one of the key authorities that regulates mosquito control in the country.
Dr Connolly works at the institute, which has a branch office in the city centre of Dublin.
“The thing that’s important to us is that we have a team of people who are dedicated to finding solutions,” she explains.
“They have got to be very keen on trying to understand the risk to the health of our population and to the overall health of the population.”
To do that, she’s working with researchers at the National Centre for Tropical Medicine, Infectious Diseases Research and Surveillance at the University of Limerick.
Dr Mary-Ann McKeown is the director of the Centre for Mosquito Control Research and Development at the NIHR.
She’s also a specialist in dengues.
“Mosquito control research has really been about identifying what the most effective strategies are,” she tells RTE.
“We’ve looked at the types of mosquito control strategies that work in terms of what we can do in terms a cost effectiveness and effectiveness in terms prevention of disease, what kind of vector control strategies we can use.”
So that’s one of our major areas of research.
“What we can control mosquito-related diseases in the short termDr Connollys research has shown that reducing the population of mosquitoes is the key to preventing dengued, chikengunya and denguing.
The most effective methods of mosquito repellency, she says, are: “Reduce the population” and and introduce a bait, like vinegar or sugar cane, to attract mosquitoes.
She says it’s important for people to understand how effective these strategies are.”
In terms of the cost effectiveness, we know that it’s about the cost of prevention versus the cost per infected person,” she continues.”
What you have to understand is that people are getting sick from mosquito bites.
So you want to prevent that from happening, and you want them to get better.
“To achieve this, Dr Connollies team has been working with the city’s public health department to develop new baits for people.”
One of the things we’ve done is put out the bait and we’ve also worked with the public health team to look at whether there are other strategies to help reduce the population, such as introducing mosquito control products in the community, introducing mosquito traps, having schools provide mosquito baits, planting some vegetation, etc,” she reveals.”
But that’s about it.
“For those who are bitten, Dr McKeowen advises you to use a repellant that contains a chemical that is approved for use in humans, such like the Bacillus thuringiensis.”
A lot of people, when they are bitten by a mosquito, they’re very, much less likely to feel any symptoms of mosquito bite,” she recalls.”
You need to try to use something that is suitable for you to be able to treat that and that’s something we’ve developed.
“In terms for the population’s health, DrConnolly says she’s been “working hard to get at the underlying factors” that are responsible for the increased incidence of mosquito-associated diseases.”
I would like to say we are all aware that we’re living in an environmental revolution, we are living in a time where mosquitoes are very effective at spreading disease,” she concludes.”
This is a problem that’s not going away.
“What can we do to stop dengus and chichunguny?
The health authority says there are ways to reduce the spread and reduce the risk of denge.
It says people should avoid eating anything that contains vinegar or coconut oil.”
Dr Connolls team have looked