Dengue mosquitoes also travel by air-con buses

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Are you sharing a ride with a dengue mosquito?

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The next time you take the bus, be wary of your immediate surroundings. You may be sitting next to a dengue mosquito (Aedes aegypti) without knowing it.

The mosquitoes that transmit the dengue virus via their bite are normally found in stagnant water, dark closets and hanging clothes. However, it seems that this deadly mosquito has caught up with the times and now travels around by public transportation, including the air-conditioned passenger bus.
Bus drivers, conductors, passengers, as well as commuters waiting for a ride at bus stations and terminals are potential victims of dengue, according to the Department of Health (DOH). Like walking time bombs, these people may already have the dengue virus and unknowingly cause it to spread by being bitten by a carrier mosquito that moves on to its next victim.

For this reason, bus terminals along EDSA are the targets of the DOH-National Capital Regional Office’s campaign against dengue. Early yesterday, terminals and buses were sprayed and disinfected with environment-friendly chemicals approved by the Food and Drug Administration as part of the DOH’s Anti-Dengue Ultra Low Volume Spraying and Disinfection Operations.

Garbage cans, comfort rooms and waiting areas will be disinfected to prevent the spread of the disease. Open canals and stagnant waters will likewise be treated with larvicide to eliminate the eggs and larvae of the dreaded mosquito.

At the same, the DOH said bus drivers and conductors need immunization to pneumonia since they handle money that carries a lot of bacteria. That should protect them for three years, it said.

“The pneumococcal vaccine is for the protection of bus drivers and conductors who are always exposed to diseases and bacteria through the currency that they hold, which is passed from various persons who have handled it previously and may have been suffering from cough, cold and pneumonia. These bacteria and diseases can be passed on easily,” DOH Undersecretary Ted Herbosa said.

The DOH Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit said there were 1,597 dengue cases in the country from January 1 to March 15, 2014. The figure is 40 percent lower compared with the 2,643 cases reported in the same period last year. Most (22 percent) cases were from the city of Manila. Four deaths were reported. The ages of patients ranged from 9 days to 80 years.

Many (49 percent) of those affected belong to the 15 – 49 years age group and the majority (54 percent) were male.

Cities with the most number of dengue cases are Manila with 354 cases; Quezon, 293 cases; Las Piñas, 137; Pasig, 130; Caloocan, 119 and Parañaque, 104.

“We will continue to sustain our anti-dengue efforts until such time that dengue in Metro Manila is eliminated. Spraying activities and disinfection of public areas in various barangays are also being conducted regularly,” Herbosa said.

Among the bus companies included in the anti-dengue campaign are JAC Liner Inc., Victory Liner Inc., RJ Express Inc., First North Luzon Transit, JAM Liner, Ceres Tours, Florida Bus, Dagupan Bus Co., DLTB Bus Co., ALPS Bus Co., AB Liner, Lucena Lines, Dominion Bus Lines, Dalin Bus, Viron Transit, Super Lines Trans. Co. Inc., Raymund Transportation, Five Star Bus Co., Santrans, Inc., ES Transport, Genesis Transport Service, Inc., HM Transport, Inc., Partas Bus Co., N. Dela Rosa Transit, Ferminas Bus Co., Philtranco and Isarog Lines.

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