‘This is the worst time of year for mosquitoes’ – New Zealand’s top pest control officer
New Zealand is facing a potentially catastrophic outbreak of dengue and chikungunya because of poor rainfall, an official has warned.
Photo: APThe government has warned that it is struggling to control the mosquito population after more than 30,000 cases of dandruff and fever were recorded in just the last two weeks, and more than 60 percent of New Zealanders were suffering from the disease, which is believed to have originated in the Caribbean.
But Dr Peter Poulter, the country’s chief medical officer, told the countrys parliament that New Zealand should focus on fighting dengues and chytridosis, a mosquito-borne illness, as a priority.
“We are facing a situation where there is no time to look at everything else, we have to look for the root cause,” Dr Poulters statement read.
“There is an urgent need for urgent action on all fronts, particularly on dengus control, chikunya control and the other major threats to our countrys environment.”
Dr Poults comments came as Prime Minister John Key announced he had suspended his government’s decision to allow the importation of a range of products including baby formula from China.
Mr Key said the Government was taking a number of steps to make sure the imported products were not only safe for use in New Zealand but also could be used by the country to make the products safer.
“It’s important that we do all we can to make it as safe as possible,” Mr Key said.
“But we also have to be realistic about the risks of these products.”
Dr James Burt, of the Department of Public Health, said while denguas were a serious problem, they were also a natural and inevitable part of life.
“The denguo has been here for millions of years and so there is a natural way to deal with it,” Dr Burt said.
However, he added, there were ways to control denguses, including through insecticides and insect repellents.
“I’m not saying that we should all stop using insecticides, but we are also looking at the use of other things like insect repelling products and things like that.”
And that’s all being done in a responsible way and we’re working with the industry to ensure that that continues.
“The Government’s latest figures show that more than 80 percent of the country had denguing cases, compared with just over 40 percent last year.
The government’s response has been to make preparations for an even bigger pandemic.
Dr Pouls statement comes as New Zealand struggles with a spike in dengos cases, with more than 20,000 confirmed cases and 10,000 suspected cases this year.
There are fears of another pandemic, with a rise in the number of cases linked to mosquitoes, and in the first week of October, more than half of the province’s 5,000 mosquito-treated homes were flooded with denges.
Auckland University’s Dr Bruce Waddington said New Zealand could face a crisis like this one in the next couple of decades.”
So this is a really, really big threat to our health.””
It could get much worse in the future, it could get worse in our lifetime.”
So this is a really, really big threat to our health.