In January 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the virus was likely to spread throughout most of the Americas by the end of the year; and in February 2016, the WHO declared the cluster of microcephaly and Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS) cases reported in Brazil – strongly suspected to be associated with the Zika virus outbreak – a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The virus is mainly spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is commonly found throughout the tropical and subtropical Americas.
On 1 February 2016, the WHO declared the current Zika virus outbreak an international public health emergency, and the Brazilian President released a decree that increased the access of local and federal pest control agents to private property, as required by mobilization actions for the prevention and elimination of Aedes mosquito outbreaks in the country. In February, the Brazilian federal government mobilized 60% of the country’s Armed Forces, or about 220,000 soldiers, to warn and educate the populations of 350 municipalities on how to reduce mosquito breeding grounds. The same decree was released when Brazil was going through a dengue epidemic.
The Brazilian Army has sent more than 200,000 troops to go “house to house” in the battle against Zika-carrying mosquitoes.
by Gabriela N.