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Insect vector workers unable to track mosquitoes

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Chikungunya virus may already be in T&T.


Staff at the Insect Vector Control Division are blaming an unsuitable laboratory in Cunupia. One member said they were unable to trap mosquitoes since last November.


The traps are used to track the number of aedes aegypti mosquitos and eggs in a specific area. Based on the results the insect vector division would then determine whether there was a rise or fall in the mosquito population and if an area needed to be sprayed.


“The rainy season is here and with the threat of the chikungunya virus is cause for concern. We also do testing for malaria and with the lab not functioning insect vector is in crisis. Right now the surveillance for the aedes aegypti mosquito is virtually non-existant,” an employee who wished to remain anonymous said yesterday.


The employee said at present traps were only being set at Piarco and not at the rest of the country.


The lab at Cunupia was built over a year ago and not outfitted to do testing, the employee added.


Describing the building as a “warehouse in the middle of farms” the worker said.


“I am not seeing any spraying around so it is difficult to say if any is being conducted.”


“The lab in Cunupia was designed more like a chemistry lab. There are cupboards right around and there is no room for chairs. This is really a big problem as we do microscope work which is strenuous on the back and neck and we cannot stand for those very lengthy periods of time.”


Another employee said the lab was located in a rural area and it was often difficult to access transportation.