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Mosquito foggers stoned in Greater Portmore

Published:Monday | January 13, 2020 | 12:43 AMRasbert Turner/Gleaner Writer

Vector-control personnel carrying out fogging exercises continue to face hostility from residents across Jamaica, with the latest reported incident occurring in St Catherine.

The revelation was made by chief public health inspector for the parish, Grayson Hutchinson, last week, more than a month after it emerged that there vector-control crews were coming under systematic attack islandwide, but especially in St Catherine and the Corporate Area, with stones the missiles of choice.

Fogging crews are crucial to the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ drive to curb the infestation of mosquitoes, particularly the Aedes aegypti species, which is the vector of the outbreak of dengue fever, which has killed dozens of Jamaica since 2018.

Hutchinson said that the most recent assault occurred at Walkway 21 in Greater Portmore on January 4, 2020.

“I am really concerned about the continued attacks on the workers by misguided individuals. I am aware that the worker was hit with stones on the back and legs. He suffered injuries as a result,” Hutchinson told councillors at the monthly meeting of the St Catherine Municipal Corporation last Thursday.

He said that even the fogging machine was damaged by stones.

“Even as he tried to get out, many missiles were being hurled at him. The nozzle and other parts of the fogging machine were damaged by the missiles. This is once more a very sad situation, and we are hurting,” Hutchinson said.

The Gleaner reported last November that St Catherine was the epicentre of the attacks, with 15 in 2019.

Meanwhile, the chief public health inspector said that the matter had been reported to the Portmore police and was being investigated.

Councillors at the meeting vowed to support the work of the health department and promised to have dialogue with the police to address the problem.

More than 60 people have been confirmed or suspected of dying from dengue fever in the last 24 months, with 44 alone in the last calendar year up to November 7.