»Initial results of vector survey show no Aedes Aegypti in CNMI
A four-day training is being conducted to educate various agencies in the CNMI on how to control arbor virus and its vectors as mosquito-borne diseases continue to spread throughout different parts of the globe.
The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and the Division of Public Health are leading the training with agencies such as the Saipan, Tinian, and Rota mayors offices, Department of Public Works, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Customs, and Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality are attending the training which will last until Thursday.
“We invited people that are tasked to oversee not only the introduction [of mosquitoes] but of the cleaning up and reduction of mosquito-breeding sites,” Environmental Health director John Tagabuel said.
An entomologist from Australia, Dr. Huy Nguyen, was contracted by the World Health Organization to conduct the training.
The training includes an overview of infectious and communicable diseases, basic awareness to entomology and vector, epidemiology, mosquito biology, and mosquito surveillance and monitoring.
Prior to the training, DPH together with Nguyen conducted a survey of areas where mosquitoes possibly breed and what kind of species there are on the islands on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.
“We wanted to know what mosquito species are on the islands basically especially in the urban areas,” Nguyen said.
Nguyen said they collected samples from water containers found in villages.
Initial results of the survey showed that mosquito species such as Aedes Saipanensis, Aedes Guamensis, and Aedes Albopictus, or the Asian tiger mosquito, are on the islands but no Aedes Aegypti, which is the primary vector or carrier for diseases such as zika, dengue, and chikungunya.
“In this survey, we didn’t find any. But there were pockets of them that have been previously identified,” Tagabuel said.
“The picture is almost good news because there are no Aedes Aegypti but having said that, their population can rebound,” Nguyen said.
The information from the survey will be presented to various agency heads on Thursday.
“We’re just making an assessment and then that will inform if any action will be done or not,” Nguyen said.
According to Tagabuel, they have identified the need to conduct this kind of survey after Typhoon Soudelor.
“Hopefully with this new information, we will present it to our boss and the Legislature to see if they can at least fund one to help us out to maintain, even though a very small surveillance but at least we continue that. That’s important because mosquitoes are major vector for disease,” Tagabuel said.