My friend Myra's daughter is in the hospital with dengue. Turning 18 in May, and with a fabulous debut in the works, all of us who know and love the girl are praying that the fever breaks and she recovers soon.
I was watching an early morning news show yesterday and caught an interview with a doctor from the Dept of Health (DOH) about the prevalence of dengue. He made a few riveting comments:
1. Dengue cases have tripled since last year (same period of time, December and January)
2. Dengue mosquitoes are "nervous feeders" and feed during the day. They tend to be hard to kill since they bite and fly away fast.
3. They are distinguished by black and white stripes, the doctor reluctantly acknowledged they are one of the prettiest looking of the mosquito family.
4. It isn't brackish water that attracts the mosquitoes, but clean water, rain water that hasn't been eliminated from the streets or the plants or any hollow space. An article that went around by email said that the increased interest in bromeliads may have added to the spread of dengue, what with their concave petals providing perfect spaces for rain or water to settle, a home for the kiti-kiti, the mosquito larvae.
5. Dengue is now year-round. It used to be a rainy season disease, but no one is safe during the hot dry months.
6. The four strains of dengue seem to be spreading in conjunction with one another - the doctor said that they've had cases of two strains at a time.
I just killed two mozzies on my way to work this morning. They probably aren't dengue mosquitoes if I understand what the doctor said. But I also can't distinguish if they have black/white stripes. My mosquito killing abilities have improved since working at the school, am able to catch them with one hand now, which gives me a weird sense of being in a kung-fu movie ("one hand mosquito death trap").
Please look around your environment, reduce the standing water potential in your garden, your homes - check for leaky pipes, clogged drains. Read up about dengue online.