Online News - Mosquito Disease

Spotlight turns to sports - the star 4-10-10
Second mosquito breeding ground found - the star 23-9-10
Widen checks in dengue fight - the star 22-9-10
Jail for those repeatedly caught breeding aedes mosquitoes - the star 20-9-10
Say no to GE mosquitoes - sunsurf 2-9-10
Public co-operation needed to stop spread of dengue - the star 23-8-10

Spotlight turns to sports - the star 4-10-10
NEW DELHI (AP) - As the spotlight finally turned to sports at the Commonwealth Games, the prospect of contracting dengue fever is still a worry in New Delhi.
Swimming was the first sport to get going Monday, the morning after the games officially opened at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
But health issues, one of the main concerns in the buildup to the games, came to fore Sunday when 30-year-old Indian lawn bowls team official Ruptu Gogoi came down with the mosquito-borne dengue fever.
English freestyle swimmer Steven Beckerleg, however, said he wasn't that concerned about getting the disease.
"We've been seeing them spraying frequently," Beckerleg said, "and the fact that one person has acquired it really doesn't worry me."
Organizers have been regularly spraying pesticides at high-risk areas, including at the athletes' village and at the swimming venue, where stagnant water provides a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
"We've got supplies of anti-repellents," the New Zealand team said in a statement. "So far we haven't seen too many mosquitoes but we're continuing to apply regularly."
Dengue fever, a painful viral disease that can be life-threatening, has become an issue in the Indian capital this year because of the extended monsoon season.
About 3,500 cases of dengue fever have been reported in New Delhi this year, and seven of the afflicted have died, the Press Trust of India reported.
In the pool, there were five medal events scheduled for Monday. English swimmer Rebecca Adlington, who won two gold medals for Britain at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, will swim in the 200-meter freestyle.
There were also medals to be won in weightlifting and gymnastics.
Just getting to the first day of competition proved to be difficult for organizers, who had to deal with construction delays, allegations of corruption and security worries in only the second Commonwealth Games to be staged in Asia.
"The preparation to the games was filled with many challenges," Commonwealth Games Federation President Michael Fennell said in a statement.
"Now in the next 11 days we will focus on the competition and follow the athletes in their quest for victory and glory. The athletes will exemplify the qualities of fair play and respect for all."
This year's Commonwealth Games bring together more than 6,000 athletes and officials from 71 countries and territories in the British Commonwealth.

Second mosquito breeding ground found - the star 23-9-10
GEORGE TOWN: A second mosquito breeding ground has been discovered at the Penang Hospital, and this time the larvae found is mostly likely to be of the Aedes mosquito.
Penang Health Department director Datuk Dr Teh Lei Choo said an enforcement team from the department took water samples from a gutter on the roof of a hospital building.
“We believe the larvae found are those of the Aedes mosquito because the water samples collected are clear and clean, an ideal breeding ground,” she said.
On Tuesday State Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh, who inspected the hospital grounds, found a clogged drain near the paediatric ward and checks by the Health Department revealed that the larvae were from the Culex mosquito, a carrier of diseases such as the West Nile virus, filariasis and Japanese encephalitis.
Penang Hospital director Dr Raja Lope Ahmad Raja Ariffin believes that the uneven parameter drain resulted in water getting stagnant at one point.
When met at the Penang Hari Raya open house in Balik Pulau here, Phee said the hospital should be issued with the compound and not the contractor.
“If the larvae is found in someone’s home, the compound would be issued to the owner, not the maid,” he said.

Widen checks in dengue fight - the star 22-9-10
I refer to the article “Jail for those repeatedly caught breeding aedes mosquitoes” (The Star, Sept 20). I agree that repeated offenders should face harsher and heavier penalties. However, like all measures taken to tackle social problems, we need to think and act more holistically.
Heavier punishments would certainly act as a deterrent but who would fear punishment if the chances of getting caught are slim. This is where stringent enforcement comes in.
Malaysia is known for its comprehensive laws, bylaws, regulations and subsidiary regulations. The country is also known for its numerous and often overlapping enforcement agencies.
It is time the authorities streamline and enforce all laws, rules and regulations without fear or favour. A populist tendency is not the way to go if we really want to change the way we live.
Right now, I think the authorities are only good at targeting households and shop premises when it comes to enforcement. But is this enough? Do the authorities, especially the Health Ministry, really know where exactly the main mosquito breeding grounds are?
I would like to urge the minister and all local authorities to look into all clogged drains, stagnant ponds, dump sites and “dead” rivers in the country. Have we done enough in these areas?
It is my humble observation that these are the locations that breed the most number of mosquitoes and rodents in the country. Who then shall be held responsible for all these public areas?
In fact, my concern goes beyond aedes mosquitoes and dengue.
The recent incidents of leptospirosis has called into question the state of our hygiene and cleanliness standards in our country. In the midst of our glittering Petronas Towers, magnificent and imposing Putrajaya, expansive F1 track and Harrods-like shopping malls, we are also fast emerging as a filthy country.
Please don’t be angry with me; just take a peek into all the hawker or food court centres, pasar malam sites, side streets, back lanes and alleys and kitchens of restaurants.
Have we not seen all the filth, left-over food and other garbage thrown into drains?
Have we not smelt the stinging stench as we eat?
And finally, have we not seen cockroaches, rats, houseflies and other rodents running around?
I think all Malaysians must make an honest assessment of themselves and the authorities must take a leadership role to change the environment and the way we live.
Kuala Lumpur

Jail for those repeatedly caught breeding aedes mosquitoes - the star 20-9-10
PUTRAJAYA: In an effort to curb dengue fever, a stiffer penalty will be imposed on those found to have allowed their premises to become breeding grounds for the aedes mosquito.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said a minimum compound of RM500 would be imposed even for first time offenders while repeat offenders faced a maximum compound of RM5,000 or a jail term of up to two years.
He said the sentence was provided for in the Destruction of Disease-Bearing Insects Act and the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act.
"There are provisions under existing law even to the extent of imprisonment but of course they have never been imposed.
"The compound that is normally imposed is RM100 to RM300. This is probably because the case is considered not serious.
"We are of the view that stiffer penalty should be imposed especially for repeat offenders," he told reporters after chairing the National-Level Committee on Dengue, here Monday.
Muhyiddin said the increased penalty was to enforce the existing provisions under the law as there were cases of the same offence being repeated.
He said the number of dengue cases to Sept 18 this year was also reported to be higher at 35,533 cases compared with 31,085 cases for the same period last year, a rise of 14 per cent or 4,448 cases.
"Fatalities due to dengue fever also rose by 53 per cent from 70 deaths during the corresponding period of last year to 107 deaths.
"In fact, the number of fatalities up to September this year had already exceeded the total recorded for the whole of last year which was 88 deaths," he said.

Say no to GE mosquitoes sunsurf - sunsurf 2-9-10
THE Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) call upon the director-general of biosafety to reject the application for the field release of genetically engineered (GE) mosquitoes and all related experiments. We in Malaysia are being subjected to an experiment which could bring adverse effects to public health and the environment.
The National Biosafety Board is assessing an application from the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) Malaysia to field release transgenic mosquitoes to combat the vector-borne dengue disease. The experiment involves releasing GE male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (OX513A) carrying a "killer" gene to mate with wild female mosquitoes, that would lead to the death of their progeny.
If the application is approved, both GE and wild type Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are expected to be released in uninhabited and inhabited sites in Bentong district in Pahang, and Alor Gajah and Malacca districts in Malacca.
According to the plan, about 2,000-3,000 GE mosquitoes will be released a day for two consecutive days, or a single release of about 4,000-6,000 GE mosquitoes, alongside the release of an appropriate number of wild type Aedes aegypti. It is stated in the application that the experiments may be repeated.
This means that a total of 24,000 – 36,000 GE Aedes aegypti along with wild type mosquitoes could be released into our environment. There would be more of these transgenic and wild Aedes aegypti mosquitoes if the experiments are repeated.
We fear this open-field testing of GE mosquitoes because all the risks associated with this technique may not have been considered by the applicants as some of the risks are not immediately apparent.
Among our concerns is that there is a possibility that female mosquitoes that transmit disease could be released simultaneously if the sex selection process before the release is not accurate. We are not assured of the reliability and efficiency of the sex selection process.
In addition, the mosquito larvae that are produced after the GE males mate with wild females will only die in the absence of tetracycline in the environment. This conditionality is of utmost concern because tetracycline is a common antibiotic used in animal husbandry, for medical and veterinary purposes. The progeny may live and increase the Aedes aegypti population in the environment with the presence of tetracycline.
Another concern is that other insects, some probably more dangerous than Aedes aegypti, might move into the ecological niche vacated by the mosquitoes.
For instance if the GE Aedes aegypti is successful in suppressing wild populations, this could result in a surge of Aedes albopictus, which transmits both chikugunya and dengue.
The applicant has proposed control measures including trapping the GE mosquitoes and fogging the area. Nevertheless there is a possibility of some mosquitoes persisting in the environment despite the monitoring and control measures.
We are not assured of complete removal of all the released mosquitoes and the larvae. Other studies have shown that Aedes aegypti can remain in the larvae stage for months so long as the temperatures are cool and water supply is sufficient.
If the use of GE mosquitoes is approved despite public objections, it is still not sustainable in the long term. As the transgene dies out with the mosquito, it means that GE mosquitoes have to be released continually. We would need to spend a lot of money releasing GE mosquitoes of which there is no guarantee of its safety.
Why do we want to opt for a rather expensive way of controlling the spread of dengue when there are alternatives which are less risky and more cost effective?
There are effective and affordable alternatives in controlling mosquitoes that spread dengue fever and other diseases. Efforts to reduce infestation should focus on preventive practices. We need to ensure that the breeding grounds for mosquitoes are destroyed.
A study in Thailand found large water containers held 90% of Aedes mosquito pupae in rural areas and 60% in urban areas. In Cuba, studies on Aedes aegypti confirmed that the greatest risks were associated with failure to treat stored water, and water in flower vases for religious practices. Treating such water-filled containers should greatly reduce the mosquito population.
Research by the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia found a number of essential oils such as Cymbopogon nardus (citronella grass), Litsea eliptica, Melaleuca cajuputi (gelam) and Cinnamomum spp (cinnamon) demonstrates repellent properties against the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
Euphoriaceae extracts, particularly Euphorbia tirucalli (firestick plant) has also been found to be an ideal larvicide against Aedes aegypti.
These low-tech practices may prove much more effective than the expensive high-technology solutions, which are also far from safe. We urge the government and director general of biosafety not to approve the application for release of GM mosquitoes and opt for safer solutions to control spread of vector-borne diseases.

Public co-operation needed to stop spread of dengue - the star 23-8-10
KUANTAN: Public co-operation is vital to reduce the number of dengue cases, said Semambu assemblyman Datuk Pang Tsu Ming.
Pang said although no deaths were recorded in his constituency so far, pro-active measures needed to be carried out.
“We have identified two black areas - Cenderawasih and Bukit Sekilau - which recorded the most number of cases.
“Several gotong-royong exercises have been initiated to rid the surroundings of mosquito breeding grounds,” he said when met after presenting state allocations to seven organisations, comprising schools and nurseries, amounting to RM11,500 at the Indera Mahkota MCA office here recently.
Pang said residents could eliminate aedes larvae by spending 10 minutes to inspect their house compound regularly.
He urged residents, particularly in the two affected areas, to follow the advice of health authorities to keep the situation in check.
“Otherwise, more people will come down with dengue fever despite fogging being done in the evening.
“All parties must work together to prevent any death from occurring,” he said, adding that premises found with larvaes by inspection teams on their rounds also risked being slapped with compounds.
On the allocations, Pang said it was for the first half of the year with another 40 organisations to receive theirs in separate functions.
“About RM75,000 have been allocated for my constituency to assist these non-governmental organisations in carrying out small projects and community activities,” Pang said.
He added that the financial assistance would be handed out to temples, Rukun Tetangga and village security and development committees in due course.
Beginning next month, the assemblyman would organise more community events involving all races to foster closer rapport and respect among one another.
He said a Pesta Tanglung would be held in Kampung Padang on Sept 25 and all Barisan Nasional component parties would be invited to attend.
“Our youth and Wanita wings will also organise events such as public talks, cultural, health, sports and environmental awareness programmes to benefit the people at large,” he said.
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