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City warns against heat-seeking pests and disease

The City’s Health Directorate is concerned about the impact of the heatwave conditions characterising the summer season.

While the warmer months generally bring an increase in the presence of pests like flies and rodents as well as an increase in diarrhoea cases, the consistently high temperatures experienced thus far are likely to exacerbate the situation.

City Health therefore implores members of the public to maintain good housekeeping and personal hygiene habits to counter the threat of infestation or illness.

A single female fly can lay up to 600 eggs in organic or decaying matter like wet food waste, compost heaps, animal faeces etc., from which maggots hatch within 48 hours. The maggots then pupate and the adult flies emerge. Flies spread diseases such as dysentery and gastro-enteritis so foodstuffs should be covered wherever possible.

Residents can help build a healthier community by employing the following waste management practices:

  • Seal wet kitchen waste in plastic bags before disposing of it in your bin or black bags
  • Store your bags and bins in a cool place
  • Keep your bins closed at all times to prevent flies from entering
  • Wash and disinfect your bin after every removal
  • Keep your refuse bags out of reach of animals
  • Collect and dispose of animal faeces on a daily basis
  • Do not litter or dump refuse on open spaces

‘Effective waste management is key to minimising the presence of flies, rodents and other bugs that may pose a health risk. It is important to be more conscious of how we are disposing of our food waste in particular. Simply throwing the waste in the bin is not going to solve the problem. We need to think smart in order to keep our living spaces pest- and germ-free. This applies to households, but also to businesses and other institutions as well. Hand-washing is another important element to curb the spread of germs and illness and it amazes me how many people still view washing their hands as an option instead of a must.

‘We are heading into our peak diarrhoea season. We know by now that children under the age of five are most vulnerable and unfortunately we still see a number of deaths every season. Given the ongoing heatwave, I am extremely concerned and I appeal to parents to keep themselves and their children hydrated at all times. More importantly, if you pick up on any symptom that could indicate the presence of diarrhoea in your child, seek medical help,’ says the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Health, Councillor Siyabulela Mamkeli.

More information on the City’s diarrhoea season plan is available here.

Published by the City of Cape Town.

2016/01/07

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