Mosquito Numbers Up 40 Percent, Officials Say

Ministry of Health officials say the presence of mosquitoes in Phnom Penh municipality has increased 40 percent in comparison with previous years. But the ministry says the increase is not dangerous to the city’s residents.

“There are a lot more mosquitoes in the city right now, but they will not carry malaria, like the mosquitoes in the provinces,” said Veng Thai, the ministry’s director of health for Phnom Penh municipality. He said the increase in mosquitoes is because many of the city’s drainage ditches have been cleared, leaving stagnant water in which the insects breed.

Veng Thai said that the city has been spraying insecticide twice a day since Jan 30 and will do so through Feb 20. All markets in Phnom Penh were closed early Friday so that insecticide could be sprayed, said Keang Lak, chief of Phsar O’Russei.

The ministry also appealed to Phnom Penh residents to cooperate in the fight against what it calls an “irregular increase” in the city’s mosquito population. “We would like to appeal to you to… clean up the area around your house so that the campaign will be a success,” said an announcement from the ministry that was read on Apsara Radio.

Chan Rana, a mother of three who lives near a drainage ditch, says the mosquitoes outside her house are like a swarm of bees.

“I have ordered my children to stay inside after 6 pm,” she said. There are always many mosquitoes near the ditches, but this year there are twice as many, she said.

“The mosquitoes are not [malaria or dengue fever carrying] Tiger mosquitoes,” according to the ministry announcement. “The ministry has checked it out,” Veng Thai said. “They won’t be dangerous, but they will be a disturbance.”

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