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As Chikungunya virus in T&T- Clean-up exercise starts in Rio Claro, Mayaro
With three confirmed cases of the Chikungunya virus in T&T and over 300,000 suspected victims in the Caribbean, a massive clean-up campaign has been launched in Victoria County. On July 11, the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) announced that 21 people had died, out of 5,029 confirmed cases in this region. As a result, the Rio Claro/Mayaro Regional Corporation has begun surveys and awareness campaigns throughout its communities, especially as heavy rains beat down yesterday.
Chairman of the corporation Hazaree Ramdeen said it was also an effort to prevent customary flooding in several low-lying areas. In a telephone interview, Ramdeen said, “Because of the present situation with the Chikungunya virus that has hit Trinidad, in our public health meeting yesterday, I instructed the corporation to go on a massive clean-up campaign to take up all derelict vehicles, check out all the open spaces and start to clean some water courses.
“We are going to serve notices to people who have any receptacles or containers that are open and collecting water. We are going to ask them to clean it up and if they don’t, we’re going to serve them notices.” The Chikungunya virus is not their only concern, but also the similar but deadly dengue fever, which also comes from the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Ramdeen said the corporation had begun preparing for the rainy season earlier this year by upgrading drainage systems.
“The same Aedes aegypti mosquito that is responsible for dengue is also the cause of the Chikungunya virus. The good thing is that the Aedes aegypti has a flying distance of 300 feet, so it can be contained. All our officers are on alert and as a matter of fact, we are going to pass around with a loudspeaker to inform people to put their garbage out and how to keep their homes clean.
“What we normally do, for the past four years, we have been cleaning all watercourses in the region in preparation for the rainy season so that when water levels rise, it can move out quickly. In the dry season, we had taken out some of the small and clogged culverts and replaced them with new ones so that the water can pass through freely,” Ramdeen said.