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Samal Island and the Mosquitoes

2009 July 26

aedesegyptihighres500 Samal Island and the Mosquitoes

I’ve never liked mosquitoes. I don’t know too many people that do for that matter.

For whatever reason it seems that I’ve always been more susceptible to mosquito bites than those I was with at the time. When we go camping, I’m the one that is fighting them off. A day trip to the creek, and they’re finding me. Last year during the visit to the province I was the only one with bites. Maybe it was the fresh smell of a foreigner or the bright white skin, I don’t know.

To compound the problem, I don’t like to use chemicals on my body either. OFF! or any of those spray on mosquito fighters almost make me ill by themselves. I’m not sure which is worse the bites, or the chemicals. The bites have a longer effect, so I suppose that is worse of the two evils.

The one real fear I have given my propensity to mosquito bites, and my reluctance to use the repellants, is that I will get Dengue Fever. Dengue Fever is not something I was familiar with before visiting the Philippines, and truth be told not something I know a lot about still.

I had read an article recently stating 10 deaths out of 200 cases since the beginning of the year in Valencia, Bukidnon. It caught my eye for a couple of reasons. I got an idea of how deadly it is, in this case 5% of the known cases died, and it made me realize (again) that our potential retirement home, Samal Island, is going to have it’s share of these nasty little creatures.

There’s no vaccine. There’s no cure. The only way to prevent this disease is to kill the mosquito vector.

  • The culprit: Aedes aegypti, or the yellow-fever mosquito, that transmits dengue virus to people.
  • The disease: Dengue, caused by any one of four serotypes or closely related viruses known as DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, or DEN-4. Nicknamed “break bone fever,” classic dengue is characterized by high fever, headaches, muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting and a rash.
  • At risk: Some 2.5 to 3 billion people, primarily in tropical and sub-tropical countries around the world.
  • The prevalence: Some 50 to 100 million annual cases of debilitating dengue fever. The most severe form of the disease, dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF), strikes half a million a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An estimated 5 percent with DHF die.

Due to the seriousness of this disease, prevention is an area I’ll to need to look into further before our eventual move to Samal. There does appear to a more natural repellent, Oil of Lemon-Eucalyptus, but it’s effectiveness does not last as long and I’m not sure of it’s side effects.

Tom Scott: On the Trail of Dengue, a Disease with No Vaccine, No Cure – Kathy Keatley Garvey, UC Davis Department of Entomology

Dengue claims 10 lives in Valencia – Mindanews

Photo by James Gathany, CDC

Related posts:
  1. Samal Island Sports an Adventure Island
  2. Why Samal Island? Part 1
  3. Samal Island Websites
  4. Should You Retire on Samal Island
  5. Work on Samal Island

14 Responses leave one →
  1. July 26, 2009

    agreed. if only half the effort being put into prevention of AH1N1(a much weaker & over hyped virus), a lot of Dengue deaths would have been prevented.

    On a side note, I’m surprised you don’t link this site/article to fb. Maybe a few more hits your way?

  2. July 26, 2009

    Hi Macky – it’s good to see that research is being done on it none the less.

    I thought my articles automatically link to FB. They seem to show to me. This article is showing on my FB homepage. Is it not available to you?

    update: I added the article via link instead of the auto note. I like it better because it shows the image. I still see both the note and the link.

  3. July 26, 2009

    Hi Randy – I just now saw your 2nd post, the link to this site. The article I read was from the fb note page. I was curious & visited this site to see if you also posted it here.

    So, just to be clear, I now see 2 posts of the same article, one a note the other a link to this site.

  4. July 26, 2009

    Thanks, Macky.

    I added the 2nd (link) after your first comment here. I hadn’t realize that the note and the comments to it stayed within FB. There is some benefit of linking directly to this site, as you pointed out.

    I’m sure there is a way to handle that automatically. I’ve have to look into it further.

  5. July 26, 2009

    Just my thinking, but I would be careful about posting the entire article on FB as a note. Two reasons. First, and most important, you then have duplicate content on the net, and Google could penalize you for that, even though you generated both articles. Second reason, whatever you post on Facebook partly becomes the property of Facebook.

    Using the link function, in my opinion is far superior to using the notes. Just my opinion.

    Now, on the dengue… I suppose I am lucky that mosquitoes don’t generally mess with me. Whenever you are here in the Philippines, Randy, I will make sure to hang out with you so that the mosquitoes have a preferred option and certainly won’t mess with me!

    Seriously, though, Dengue is not something to be messed with. All options should be considered make your environment unfriendly for mosquito breeding and hatching. With such precautions, it can be kept fairly well under control.

  6. July 27, 2009

    Good points, Bob. I had not considered the duplicate content aspect. Seems the only benefit of using notes is that it updates automatically. I’m going to turn them off and manually add the links from now on.

    Yeah, I’m a mosquito magnet. I’ll definitely be looking into my options. As you say, preventing the breeding around our home would be first and foremost.

  7. July 27, 2009

    Hi Randy, there are dengue cases here. Baygon is my friend :)

    There are ways to minimize them – don’t plant carabao grass around the house (bermuda or fine lawn grass is better), prevent stagnant water by putting empty cans, bottles and pails upside down outside, use mosquito screens, not too many trees, keep your area clean, etc etc. I am sure you know all these already.

    I am a mosquito magnet too – this is why i seldom wear shorts. I do use OFF. You can drink more beer – I was told the Vitamin B1 in the yeast helps repel those buggers. Oh yeah, don’t wear dark clothes.

    I have less bites now, maybe I am getting immune to them. :)

  8. July 27, 2009

    Hi Ellen – good to hear from you. I hope all is well.

    I’ll do all the proper preventative maintenance that I can, and probably some that doesn’t work, too. I wonder if the Mega Catch trap that’s showing up in my Google ad works at all. It sure shows a ton of disgusting dead mosquitoes.

    The mosquitoes are probably looking for fresh blood, maybe that’s why they are leaving you alone more often now :-)

  9. Mike permalink
    September 20, 2009

    My wife & I find that Avon’s “skin so soft” works well – an old Canadian tree planter trick – if you don’t mind the greasy feeling. We usually bring a couple of bottles with us, which last a long time. This time, I’m bringing some serious DEET, which can not be in direct contact with the skin & eats everything, but works better than anything else. As well, mosquito shirts help for the evening bonfires. My brother-in-law was hit with dengue fever & my wife gave him some fansidar – made in India – which put him “back to rights” within 24 hours. I bought it in Taiwan, but understand that it is not available in most countries, due to it’s strength.

    • September 20, 2009

      Hi Mike – sounds like you have some experience with this subject. I’ll have to see if we can round up some “Skin So Soft” for our next trip.

      Had to look up what a mosquito shirt was. The hooded one reminds me of a bee keeper’s outfit. Looks like there are some that are basically long sleeve shirts that are treated with repellant. also.

      Hadn’t heard of Fansidar, either. Did a quick search and see that it’s used for Malaria more often than not. Can have some serious side effects, too. It sounded like it was possibly available in the Philippines.

  10. Howard permalink
    October 17, 2009

    Since I will be living in the Davao Area soon I was thinking if everyone sat plastic pans of fresh water in their yard and changed the water every few days then the M larva would hatch in those pans and die when poured out and refilled. Then the cycle is all over again. Let the bugs breed and hatch and then destroy them. It would cut the mosquito population down alot. Remember they come out in the day time. After I paid 15,000 peso 2 weeks ago for Dengue Hospital bill in Tagum City for relation, I say some action needs to be taken to lower the M population. It is really bad in the province maybe due to the rice fields water. But then it just takes ONE bite to get Dengue. In the other North province of Mindanao near rice farms Dengue is bad north of Davao City and north of Tagum City. All i heard from my wife in Davao was ” I want to go back to the province north of Tagum City I miss my pig ” Then I let her go and 2 days later the neighbor died of Dengue and I hear ” Get me out of here Husband, me no want be province no more ” So Dengue kind of sucks big. I wonder if the pigs get dengue? I have to study more M control Ideas. Its sort of the thing I do.

  11. July 18, 2012

    Hey my in laws live on samal and the misquitos can get bad , but what they do is make several small fires of burning coconut husks around there house and all the smoke hovering around the house runns the misquitos off…..for awhile. You got to sleep with bug spray on because philippines misquitos are very tricky , they don,t make a noise.

    • July 18, 2012

      Seems Wordbooker keeps posting old articles for me when I delete an expired link. Wala’y problem as it generates new comments.

      I always get many more bites on Samal Island than I do around Davao or Manila. I guess that makes sense due to the smaller population, and the remoteness of the areas on Samal.

      I really don’t enjoy using those repellants but they can hardly be avoided at times. The bed nets do a pretty good job, provided you don’t already have the mosquitoes inside of them.

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