Sunday, 27 March 2011

Spread The News Sunday: You Can Get Dengue Fever Too

Aesdes aegypti Mosquito
Since it's Sunday I thought I'd spread some news, or at least some information that you should share with others because everyone should know.  Today's sermon is about Dengue Fever since it seems that its season has arrived, with many reports in the news recently about high incidence of the disease in some areas of Rio state.

Dengue is a tropical disease mostly carried by one type of mosquito, the black and white striped Aedes aegypti mosquito. The symptoms are mostly flu-like, with high fevers, joint ache and rashes.  Most people have relatively mild symptoms but it can get really nasty and be fatal, especially for children.  Every individual - that means you too - has to take responsibility for ensuring they are doing their bit to combat the spread of the disease.

The mosquitoes breed in stagnant pools of water.  If you live in a flat this might be around your potted plants or in empty containers on your terrace.  In a garden there are a million different potential breeding pools.   In my place I found two larvae in the tadpole tank this week.  I used to cover it with a net to stop the mozzies getting in, but then one of the newly morphed frogs got tangled up in in and died.  Anyway, I thought the remaining tadpole would enjoy some insect larvae for breakfast but in fact they got bigger by the day without being eaten so I eventually fished them out and killed them.`They look like little wiggly worms.

What you need to do is simple; get rid of those stagnant pools and puddles.  The plates under potted plants should be scrubbed clean once a week, or you can put sand in them.  Containers outside should be placed face down.  If you see an obvious dengue threat on a neighbour's property, an abandoned pool or an uncovered water tank, you should report it to the authorities.  You can find the number and other dengue information  (in Portuguese) on the Rio Contra Dengue site. 

Finally, protect yourself from bites.  I don't think you need to tell you how, but let's just say a big Amen to Off Spray.
(Image Sanofi Pasteur 2006)


  1. I had a student, when I was living in Manaus, that got dengue as soon as she had recovered from malaria. Talk about injustice. Her body almost couldn't take it.

  2. I'd either read or heard that coffee grinds in water make it to acidic for the eggs to thrive. Normally I'd look it up for you to validate what I'm saying before commenting (so we know it's not BS), but way too tired right now, I'll leave it up to the rest of your readers!