|Follow us on:|
“While we do not have a vaccine against the Zika virus, the war must be concentrated on the elimination of breeding grounds for the mosquito. Getting rid of Zika is the responsibility of all of us,” Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has asserted.
Rousseff said she had asked a summit of the 33-member Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to launch “cooperative action in the fight against the Zika virus.”
The Health Ministers of the Mercosur region will meet next week, Rousseff has announced.
“We must wage war against the Aedes Aegypti, the vector of dengue, of chikungunya and of Zika. WHO has warned that our entire region is threatened,” Rousseff tweeted on Wednesday.
Brazil has been the country hardest hit by the outbreak of the mosquito-borne virus, which is blamed for a sharp rise in infants born with microcephaly, or abnormally small heads.
There have been 3,893 reported cases of microcephaly in Brazil since October.
Brazilian health minister Marcelo Castro on Monday promised 220,000 troops would be deployed next month to distribute educational pamphlets and help scour cities for mosquito breeding grounds.
Similar moves have been successful in the past. A huge eradication effort in the 1940s and 1950s, motivated by the spread of yellow fever also carried by Aedes aegypti, led Brazil to be declared free of the mosquito in 1958. But as the program was relaxed, the insect returned.
The mosquito thrives in dense tropical cities, and Rousseff called for the elimination of stagnant water spots where it lives and reproduces.
Temos que lançar guerra contra o Aedes Aegypt, vetor da Dengue, da Chikungunya e da Zika. OMS advertiu que toda nossa região está ameaçada
— Dilma Rousseff (@dilmabr) January 27, 2016
Zika has spread to some 20 countries in Latin America and the World Health Organization (WHO) expects it to spread to every country in the Americas except Canada and Chile.
Denmark and Switzerland joined a growing number of European countries to report Zika infections among travelers returning from Latin America.