Mosquitoes, holiday planning

Published in Forum items

A worried parent asks Eco Hvar about mosquitoes on Hvar. Is there cause for concern?

Potential visitor: email 25th August 2017: Hi, I am planning to visit Hvar Island in early September. I have a one year old baby girl and I am concerned regarding mosquitoes. How bad is the infestation this year?

Thank you. 

Eco Hvar: 25th August 2017: Many thanks for your inquiry.

Are you concerned about the possibility of mosquito-borne illnesses? If so, be reassured: I have never known of any in all my years on Hvar. And in Croatia overall there have been extremely few cases, very few in humans, and no fatalities.

You can check all this out on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, eg for Dengue Fever; and West Nile Fever. (Zika has not happened at all in Croatia.)

There is more reason to be concerned about the insecticides used to 'kill off' mosquitoes than the mosquitoes themselves. Permethrin, for instance, is used in many over-the-counter sprays against flying insects, including mosquitoes. Permethrin is even used as to impregnate materials for clothing to prevent mosquito bites. Yet Permethrin has many ill-effects, from being toxic to cats, to possibly affecting the nervous system adversely during development (ie in babies and small children: eg Shafer, T.J., et al. 2005. "Developmental neurotoxicity of pyrethroid insecticides: critical review and future research needs." Environ Health Perspect. 113(2):123-136.)

Mosquitoes are certainly a nuisance, and their bites can cause irritation. However, in my experience, an adequate Vitamin B intake reduces the effects of their bites dramatically. Citronella candles can help repel mosquitoes in the environment. These measures can certainly work for adults. For a small baby, obviously you should seek advice from a paediatric specialist, preferably one with an interest in holistic medicine.

How bad is the infestation? The answer may sound odd. Friends who live away from the main roads report that there are very few this year. Those of us who live close to the roads which were sprayed with insecticides in the routine 'fogging' are experiencing an influx of mosquitoes, as indeed happens each time.

The truth is that mosquitoes in this area of Dalmatia have not caused any epidemic of dangerous diseases. Mosquitoes are endemic in the Mediterranean, and attempts to eradicate them through poisons only make the situation worse. Mosquitoes are arguably much less dangerous than the poisons used to suppress them.

I hope all this information lessens your concern. September is usually the perfect month for visiting Dalmatia!

Potential visitor, 26th August 2017: 

Thank you for your reply. This was very helpful. We are planning to go ahead with the visit.
xeenaa13(a)gmail.com

Izvor: http://www.biovrt.com/kontakt

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