Friday, February 15, 2013

Floods will help insects’ facilitate people’s death

Climate change (floods) helps insect vectors facilitate your death, says a 2007 report in Gambia. Pix: Barra Flood 2009 (photo credit: The Point)
The number of deadly diseases transmitted by insect vectors like mosquitoes are likely to be enhanced by floods says a local study released in Banjul.

The report “Gambia National Adaptation Programme of Action on Climate Change, NAPA” said such diseases include malaria. Malaria is a serious illness transmitted to humans by a mosquito.

The NAPA warns against sleeping or staying long hours outdoors to avoid contracting malaria. 

“There is a high probability that the rise in annual malaria cases in The Gambia from 25, 000 to 76, 000 in 2004, is due to sleeping or staying outdoors without taking necessary precautions,” says a report produced by NAPA Country Team, NCT.

Wide choices

The report, published in 2007, was given little prominence in the local media, but i think it is still relevant for people to understand the relation between floods and deadly-diseases, Lamin Jahated, a journalist and blogger said. 

The NCT says people have a wide choice of strategies to cope with direct effects of flooding.
For malaria, they pointed to the “Roll Back Malaria”, a programme intended to enhance the fight against the killer disease.

The NAPA advices on the use of drugs like quinine, mosquito repellent incense, insecticides like moon-tiger or aerosol sprays - all available at pharmacies, corner shops, and local markets. They also suggested the use of insecticide-treated bed-nets.  

Fighting malaria and flood water in The Gambia (Photo:Virtual Tourist)


The report outlined other indirect health risks of flooding, including exposure to biologically-active pollutants that may be present in flood waters.

Larger populations areas would be exposed to schistosomiasis, a disease caused by the spread of fresh water snails into newly flooded areas, the report says.
“If an evacuation exercise becomes necessary, then the risk of infectious disease transmission increases with overcrowding,” the study finds.

Higher risk of meningitis

Relative risks of meningococcal meningitis outbreaks may also increase with the frequency of dust storms, the authors warn. Meningitis is a serious illness that affects the outer part of the brain.

Although locations of future outbreaks may not be known with exactitude, they said urban centers with high population densities constitute the highest risk areas. 

The report points to children immunization as a key preventive measure.

They said warmer weather causes “aggravated cardiovascular and respiratory illness” for persons over 65, and “accelerated aging of lungs, decreased lung capacity, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema” in other age-groups.

Written by Modou S. Joof

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