14ymedio, Havana, 10 May 2022 — Years ago, before the economic crisis gripped the island, fumigation in Havana to combat the Aedes aegypti mosquito was done house by house, with prior notice, on a certain day in the summer. Those days will not return.
Now, the fight against the insect responsible for the transmission of diseases such as dengue fever, Zika, and chikungunya is done in neighborhoods spontaneously, with vehicles that fill the air with poison and gasoline (the indicated product contains 25% of cypermethrin diluted in petroleum as a solvent). This is how it was this Monday in the Havana neighborhood of Nuevo Vedado.
“I haven’t seen fumigation like this in many years,” says a resident in the face of the pestilent smoke. “Dengue must be thriving.”
The Cuban Minister of Public Health, José Ángel Portal Miranda, recently acknowledged that there is an outbreak of the disease throughout the country, although he assured that the Government is “in a position to reverse the situation.”
In any case, the Island’s own health authorities recommend that after fumigating, the product be left for almost an hour. “If we don’t leave the house closed for 45 minutes after the treatment is applied, the mosquito leaves, the microdrop doesn’t fall on top of it — the mechanism that causes its death — and we have lost time and fuel and, what is worse, the mosquitoes and the focus of their transmission remain,” Carilda Peña García, the National Director of Surveillance and Vector Control of the Ministry of Health, explained last year during the campaign to fight Aedes aegypti. How is this condition met outdoors?
Fumigation has also been the target of popular criticism for the frequency with which campaign operators steal part of the product or fuel and replace them with mixtures that do not fulfill the function of exterminating insects, in addition to causing greater allergic reactions in people.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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