DVIDS – News – Navy Public Health Supports Naval Base Guantanamo Bay

Entomologists and preventive medicine technicians from the Navy Entomology Center of Excellence (NECE) traveled to Naval Base Guantanamo Bay (NSGB) to provide technical assistance to pest control operations, April 1-08 2022.

NECE personnel provided training on how to set monitoring traps, identified breeding sites for biting insects, and assessed the overall effectiveness of the base’s monitoring program.

“Cuba has a tropical climate, so there are a lot of things we need to be careful of,” said Lt. jg Haley Barravecchia, chief of the preventive medicine (PM) department (DH) at Navy Medicine and Readiness Training Command Guantanamo Bay. (NMRTC GB). “But mosquitoes and no-see-ums are our biggest concern.” Mosquitoes are well known for their blood sucking habits and their ability to spread disease. No-see-ums, also known as biting midges, can swarm in large numbers during the island’s rainy season and inflict painful stings.

“There are many variables to consider when finding good trapping sites for mosquitoes and midges,” said Quentin Foley, preventive medicine technician assigned to NECE. “The presence of competing light sources, whether humans are active in the area and at what time of day, and whether there is standing water in the environment that could serve as breeding sites are just a few -some of the factors that impact where we will find biting insects and how effective the traps will be.

One of the key elements of the technical assistance visit was the survey of the migrant operations area, where migrants and refugees receive temporary accommodation. The camps can accommodate more than 50,000 people and these conditions often lead to the proliferation of pests and health problems. Marine Corps Capt. Natasha Ward led the NECE team through the region as they consulted on preparations and educated on the best pest control methods in the area.

“Any time you have a congregation of people in a small space, poor hygiene and introduced organisms, problems are likely to arise,” said Lt. James Brennan, DH of Task Force Support at NECE. “Lice are a concern, and it is important to have a delousing procedure during ongoing treatment. We also want to prevent anything from entering living areas, as animals such as snakes are attracted to shade We want people to be healthy and cared for while they are here.

NECE staff are trained to control pests of all kinds, not just insects. Army Public Health at Fort Gordon, Guantanamo Bay, consulted with NECE about animal concerns at the base. Fruit bats, Cuban banana rats and a growing population of feral cats have the potential to spread diseases and parasites, including rabies and screwworm infestations.

Additionally, NECE met with various members of NSGB management, Naval Hospital management, Guantanamo Bay Naval Installations Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC), and local contractors, discussing best practices in the pest control industry and collaborating to exceed industry standards and strengthen the long-term success of NSGB pest control.

For more information and to visit NECE, please visit:
For more information on Navy Entomology, please visit: https://www.navy.com/careers/entomology

The Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC) develops and shapes public health for the United States Navy and Marine Corps through health surveillance, epidemiology, and analysis, disease and injury prevention and public health consultation. To learn more, visit www.nmcphc.med.navy.mil.

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Date taken: 26.04.2022
Date posted: 26.04.2022 15:30
Story ID: 419357
Location: PORTSMOUTH, Virginia, USA

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