Dengue effort stepped up by president and schools

Both the president and the education minister have issued statements urging an attack against the mosquitoes that carry dengue.

The president, Laura Chinchilla, devoted her weekly televised segment to the topic. She showed video of workers spraying for the mosquitoes and urged citizens to take action.

The minister, Leonardo Garnier Rímolo, ordered schools to assembly detection and eradication brigades to get rid of the mosquitoes.

With the end of mid-year vacation, youngsters are back at school, but  officials worry that those who vacationed on the Pacific coast might bring back the disease. A youngsters carrying the dengue virus could pass the disease to an uninfected  Aedes aegypti mosquito and begin the cycle all over again in the Central Valley.

The bulk of the dengue cases this year are in Parrita, Puntarenas and other communities along the central Pacific coast.

Garnier said that the school brigades should make sure that rain gutters are clear and not holding pooled water. He said brigades should put lids on all places where water is stored and eliminate standing water anywhere it is found. He also ordered a cleanup of items that may hold water for the benefit of mosquitoes.

Some schools have old tires on the playground. These are favorite haunts where mosquitoes lay their eggs. Garnier said that the tires should be punctured so that any water drains.

He also wanted the brigades to inspect potted plants to make sure there were no pools of waster.

Ms. Chinchilla said the Panamerican Health Organization and the  Ministerio de Salud Pública are coordinating efforts to fight the mosquitoes with spray and with an appeal to Costa Ricans to eliminate places where mosquitoes breed. The video aired Sunday for the first time.

Meanwhile Cruz Roja workers are going door to door in Parrita, Garabito, Barranca, Orotina and Aguirre to carry the message that homes should be free of space for the dengue mosquito.

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