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Proactive measures taken to curb mosquito breeding

     The Anti-Mosquito Steering Committee (AMSC) held a meeting today (June 7) to review the effectiveness of existing anti-mosquito measures and dengue vector surveillance work.

     The AMSC is chaired by the Permanent Secretary for Food and Health (Food), Mrs Marion Lai, and comprises representatives of a number of policy bureaux and departments.

     The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) has been strengthening dengue vector surveillance. Starting from January this year, the department has expanded the scope of the dengue vector surveillance programme to cover a number of densely populated or frequently visited areas as well as those areas where dengue fever cases have occurred in the past.  The newly covered areas are Deep Water Bay and Repulse Bay; Shau Kei Wan and Sai Wan Ho; Hung Hom; Sheung Kwai Chung; So Kwun Wat and Sai Kung Town. As a result of this extension, a total of 44 areas are currently covered under the surveillance programme.

     To ensure anti-mosquito measures are taken promptly when the Area Ovitrap Index (AOI) of a particular area reaches the alert level of 20%, the FEHD introduced an ovitrap rapid alert system in April this year. The system's target groups include the management offices of residential premises, social welfare facilities and schools that are situated within the surveillance areas. Groups may also subscribe to the system voluntarily. Parties who are interested in subscribing to the rapid alert system can call respective FEHD District Environmental Hygiene Offices. Whenever the AOI reaches 20%, subscribers to the system whose premises are situated within the surveillance area concerned will be individually notified by the relevant departments upon the publication of the AOI. Subscribers will be invited to post up specially designed alert notices (see Annex) in commonly used parts of their premises to draw the attention of occupants and staff to take mosquito preventive and control measures promptly. Additionally, the FEHD will clear potential mosquito breeding grounds in public places and apply larvicides to stagnant water where appropriate, handle mosquito complaints promptly and take out prosecutions under the relevant ordinance against mosquito breeding.

     Other departments have also continued to intensify their mosquito preventive and control work, as well as strengthen publicity and education campaigns. Measures include clearing potential mosquito-breeding grounds in public rental housing estates, conducting grass cutting and site clearance to government land site blackspots, and mobilising members of the community to take part in anti-mosquito activities.

     Targeting commercial and individual activities that might easily come into contact with mosquitoes such as livestock farms, fish farms and recreational sites in country parks, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) has asked the relevant management staff to enhance mosquito prevention work and promotion activities.  The AFCD has also written to farmers urging them to take anti-mosquito measures. Inspection of blackspots would also be stepped up.

     The Department of Health has strengthened its publicity campaign to remind those who travel outside Hong Kong to take precautionary measures.

     The Housing Department will step up publicity through posters, notices, leaflets and estate newsletters.

     The Development Bureau has reminded site staff to ensure effective anti-mosquito measures are undertaken at construction sites.

     The Lands Department will conduct grass cutting on government land sites under its control and clear identified hillside illegal cultivation blackspots to eliminate potential mosquito breeding grounds.  It will also send letters to request short-term tenants to prevent and control mosquito breeding.

     The Leisure and Cultural Services Department will carry out mosquito control operations at its venues and step up inspection.

     The Education Bureau has jointly organised with the FEHD a seminar on dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis vectors for school personnel. Schools were reminded again to keep the school and the surrounding environment clean.

     The District Offices will assist with the publicity for mosquito prevention and control, including distributing anti-mosquito promotional leaflets and items, as well as facilitating health talks.

     The Government Property Agency will remind its property management agents to take necessary anti-mosquito measures at properties under its purview.
     Expressing her gratitude for their continuous efforts in mosquito prevention, Mrs Lai encouraged members of the AMSC to step up their efforts to mobilise and organise more community participation in mosquito prevention. "We need to stay vigilant throughout the summer months.  Concerted effort from the Government, local organisations, estate management bodies and the public is crucial to the effectiveness of mosquito control work," she said.

Ends/Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Issued at HKT 17:53


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