`Smarter’ mosquitoes finding ways to breed in Barbados

(Barbados Nation) A smarter, hardier strain of mosquito and climate change have apparently combined to sharply increase the number of dengue cases in Barbados.

By September 21, confirmed dengue cases had almost trebled to 604, compared to 233 in the same period last year and Chief Medical Officer Dr Joy St John indicated this morning that climate change had something to do with the increase.

“In Barbados, the mosquito is developing and going through its cycle of maturity faster, so the mosquitoes are, we believe, affected by climate change,” she told a news conference at the Ministry of Health in Culloden Road, St Michael.

“So the effect of the climate change on the mosquito is probably part of the reason why we have seen some of this increase as well. It’s almost like a perfect storm because we also have the issue of the rainfall, the issue of less than exemplary practices, because this mosquito is domesticated.”

St John also pointed out that “this particular strain of the dengue virus has not been around in circulation, so there are several Barbadians who can now be affected by the strain number one and so that is why we are seeing so many cases.

“So it’s a perfect storm in that we have a faster-growing, hardier mosquito and we have rainfall and we have so many people who have not had dengue virus type one. So this is why we are seeing this big increase in numbers of cases as compared to last year.”

In an interview afterwards, she told the MIDWEEK NATION the mosquitoes were “more clever” and “finding ways to breed”.

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