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Mayor takes measures to prevent dengue, virus

Saturday, April 26, 2014

With the Caribbean Public Health Agency’s advisory that T&T should be on high alert for the deadly Chikungunya virus, San Fernando mayor Kazim Hosein has started to remove derelict vehicles from the city. Accompanied by municipal police and public health officers, several vehicles parked on the roadside were lifted onto trucks and disposed at the San Fernando landfill. After a survey of several communities, the corporation identified and issued more than 55 notices for the removal of old and abandoned vehicles.



Before yesterday’s exercise, Hosein said 40 vehicles were removed by their owners. However, 15 more were still parked on the road side accumulating water and grass, making it a haven for mosquitoes and rodents. “When this new council took office in November we embarked on a consultation process between citizens, the council and the administration. We decided on a few projects and one of the projects was the removal of derelict vehicles because of the unsightly and public health issues that goes with it.


“I must say this morning, though, that a lot of citizens adhered to our call. Since November, there had been a public notice is all the media, that we would start this exercise from  January 1. This is almost the end of April and enough time was given to owners of the vehicles,” Hosein said.


With the threat of Chikungunya virus and dengue looming, public health inspector Jameel Mohammed said it was one of a few preventative measure the city was taking. The Chikungunya virus is an insect borne virus, which is passed on to humans by virus-carrying Aedes mosquitoes.


In terms of dengue preventative measures, chief health inspector John Ramkhelawan said the public health department has been able to maintain its mosquito index at a level of five per cent, which he said is the threshold level for the transmission of the dengue virus. “So we have remained in pretty good shape and we have just completed a ULV (Ultra Low Volume) spraying exercise city-wide and with the current dry season, we have it under control. We have had very few reports of dengue in the city for this year, so far. 


“There are a couple hot spots. Coincidentally, they appear to be coming, more out, of the affluent areas where we have many locked houses because our perifocal operators cannot access these premises to do inspections. When we knock on the doors, they are all locked and those premises are the ones, invariably, where we will find mosquitoes breeding, especially the aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are the vectors of yellow fever of yellow fever and dengue,” Ramkhelawan said.


While removing a 1968 Toyota Mark II off Shah Street, Hosein said it was parked there for over one year and despite the issuance of a notice, no one had claimed it. It was discovered that the vehicle was a mere shell with the engine, transmission and other vital components missing. One resident told the T&T Guardian the vehicle was parked there by an auto-electrician in the area. The electrician was seen in his yard while the vehicle was being removed.


Not all 15 vehicles marked for removal were taken yesterday as Hosein explained that some vehicle owners had requested and were granted more time. He said the city corporation will bear the cost because it was necessary for the public’s health.


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