MRCU boss: COVID "the perfect storm" for mosquito proliferation
Mr James McNelly, Director of the Mosquito Research & Control Unit; image source: CIGTV
James McNelly, the Director of the Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU) in the Cayman Islands has referred to the recent proliferation of mosquitos on-island as "the perfect storm."
In an interview with CIG TV, Mr James McNelly, said that "the environment has worked in the favour of producing mosquitos."
Mr McNelly explained that May and June high tide events and rain events caused flooding, while quite a number of areas with standing water including mangrove swamps (15,000 acres of potential mosquito production sites), coupled with the COVID-19 situation, which limited institutional collaboration in tackling the mosquito problem, and reduced numbers of staff working to control the mosquito populations resulted in the optimal opportunity for mosquito proliferation.
The Mosquito Research & Control Unit has been battling the existing biting population of mosquitoes across the three Islands, as well as containing mosquito reproduction. Trucks have been going out several times a night since June 1. Daily schedules can be found on the MRCU facebook page.
The aerial team and Senior Disease Prevention Officers (DPOs) have continued to work in their coordination of ground and aerial functions to achieve success, but the aerial units were grounded for about three nights during the Sahara dust situation. Work at the airport also prevented the MRCU aerial units from flying with their desired frequency. Periods of high winds have also prevented spraying. The DPOs have been out with the fogging trucks to fill in areas not treated aerially and in response to any service requests.
COVID has created added logistical requirements for the MRCU team. The same drivers have been required to operate the same vehicles and social distancing and mask wearing have been strictly enforced. The unavoidable need to operate with a skeleton crew has posed added challenges.
Mr McNelly has asked residents to look out for containers with standing water, to assist the community in reducing the proliferation of mosquitos.
But, while they are buzzers and biters, the current breed of mosquitoes affecting the Cayman Islands are not disease carriers.
The Mosquito Research and Control Unit has announced the following aerial and truck operations for August 4. Operations start at 6 pm.
- Southern end of West Bay peninsula- 6 pm
- North Side- 7.15 pm
- One fogger starting Savannah Meadows; Lower Valley, all turnings up to Corella Drive- 7.15 pm
- One fogger starting Frank Sound; Old Man Bay up to Hutland- 7.15 pm
- One fogger starting Northward, all turnings; the Prison, then Beach Bay- 7.15 pm
- One fogger starting Hutland, up to Cayman Kai–-7.15 pm
- One fogger to Rackley’s Dykes, North Sound Estates, Sunrise Landing- 7.15 pm
- One fogger starting at Courts Road; Bodden Road; Rock Hole; Eastern Ave., all turnings; Washington Road, all turnings; North Sound Way Road; then Webb Road; Seymour Drive; Dump Road – 7.15 pm