Health authorities in Granada today launched a culicidal offensive against mosquitoes following three confirmed cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever on Calle Palenque, four blocks west of the Central Park.
As neighbors gathered in the street, clutching a squirmy collection of cats, dogs and wing-flapping parrots, health authorities blasted each home with thermal foggers, covering the entire city block in an unhealthy-looking bluish and white cloud of insecticides mixed with diesel (if the dengue doesn’t get you, the emphysema probably will).
“You can go back in your house in 10 minutes,” one health official explained, as he emerged from the thick cloud of a fog-bombed house, wearing no mask or protective gear and inspiring little confidence in his precautionary advice.
Thermal fogging is loud and intrusive, but it’s still the best way to kill adult mosquitoes when the right kinds and combinations of insecticides are used, health officials say. Fogging is also good for killing just about everything else that crawls or flies around the house, as a post fog-bomb survey of the battlefield reveals.
The fogging does not, however, kill mosquito larvae, which need to be treated with special larvicide chemicals, usually in granular form. A separate health official came by Calle Palenque two hours after the fog had settled—waiting notably longer than the 10 minutes advised by her colleagues—to treat homes for larvae, giving resident mosquitoes and their wiggly offspring the one-two punch.
Dengue, also known as “bone-break fever,” is an infectious disease transmitted by certain types of mosquitoes. Symptoms include a spiking fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a skin rash. Severe cases can lead to hallucinations or life-threatening hemorrhagic fever, resulting in bleeding from the nose, mouth and eyes.
There are four types of dengue, and no vaccine.
Health officials in Managua tell The Nicaragua Dispatch that there have been 2,113 possible cases of dengue nationwide, of which 241 cases have been confirmed. First Lady Rosario Murillo announced last week that the government officials have visited more than 100,000 homes as part of its dengue-prevention campaign.