School kids enlisted into campaign against dengue

School children will be enlisted Aug. 19 into the campaign against dengue.

The  Ministerio de Educación Pública said Monday that every school in the country would dedicate time to find breeding places for mosquitoes, which transmit dengue.

The country has experienced about 22,000 cases this year, a figure that is much higher than normal.  There have been deaths.

The ministry said that the school event is mostly symbolic but has the potential to muster up to a million children, parents and staffers into the anti-dengue campaign. The ministry noted that the spread of the disease has the potential to worsen as the rainy season continues. The dengue virus already has entered the Central Valley.

School kids are expected not only to survey their school grounds for breeding sites but to do so within 100 meters of the school property, the ministry said. They also are expected to repeat the exercise in each of the subsequent months until the end of school Dec. 11.

The education minister, Leonardo  Garnier, will participate in the campaign at the  Liceo Napoleón Quesada in Guadalupe next Monday, the ministry said.

The youngsters are expected to search for standing water and puncture old tires that might hold water.

They also are expected to fill in any low spots that hold standing water.

They also are supposed to bring this knowledge home.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the vector for dengue. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control said that the female of the species can lay dozens of eggs up to five times during her lifespan. The mosquito does not lay eggs in drainage ditches, wetlands, rivers of lakes, said the Centers. The preference is for containers that have been filled with water by people or the weather.

Chlorination of swimming pools prevents that water from hosting larvae, the Centers said.

Health officials also say that visitors should use repellent and remember that the mosquito is a day biter.

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