THE Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ), in coordination with the Manila International Airport Authority (Miaa), sprayed insecticides at the airport drainage system, baggage conveyor section, departure and arrival lobby, gardens, ramps and parking areas in a bid to control the spread of mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus.
Noel Ramirez, quarantine doctor on duty, said his officers are conducting residual-insect spraying within the designated areas of the airport, aside from the mandatory spraying inside the aircraft by airline crew before or upon landing at the (Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).
Quarantine sprayer Risty Singson said he sprays insecticide every weekend to control the spread of mosquitoes that usually carry viruses, like dengue and the deadly Zika.
Miaa tapped the services of a pest-control office to spray insecticides at airline and government offices inside the terminals using water-based chemicals, a process they call “misting.”
The BOQ and Miaa are implementing the strict policy of the Department of Health (DOH) that every incoming passenger must fill out a DOH health checklist upon arrival.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika virus as Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Who said effective preventive interventions are needed to be in place to deter possible widespread transmission of the virus in the country. Many countries require disinfection of aircraft to kill the insects arriving from countries where diseases spread by insects, such as malaria and yellow fever and Zika virus, occur.
The methods used to disinsect can vary by destination and airline. The WHO and the United Nations-chartered International Civil Aviation Organization have established two primary methods: Spraying aerosol insecticides in the cabin, while passengers are onboard, and treating the airplane’s interior surfaces with a residual insecticide when passengers are not onboard.
WHO said there have been a number of cases of malaria affecting individuals who live or work in the vicinity of airports in countries where malaria is not present, thought to be due to the escape of malaria-carrying mosquitoes transported on aircraft.
Disinfection is a public-health measure mandated by the Interfational Health Regulations (Annex 2). It involves treatment of the interior of the aircraft with insecticides. The different procedures currently in use are as follows: Treatment of the interior of the aircraft using a quick-acting insecticide spray immediately before take-off, with the passengers onboard; treatment of the interior of the aircraft on the ground before passengers come
onboard, using a residual-insecticide aerosol, plus additional in-flight treatment with a quick-acting spray shortly before landing; and regular application of a residual insecticide to all internal surfaces of the aircraft, except those in food-preparation areas.
Passengers are sometimes concerned about their exposure to insecticide sprays during air travel, and some have reported feeling unwell after the spraying of aircraft for disinfection.
However, WHO has found no evidence the specified insecticide sprays are harmful to human health when used as recommended.