Brazilian gov’t all out to control Zika virus
THIS REFERS to the news item titled “DFA warns PSC over Rio dengue, Zika virus” (Sports, 4/2/16). I am pleased to share more information on the subject.
1. The incidence of dengue fluctuates yearly. Infestation reaches a peak between February and May and declines between July and September, when rainfall is lower and temperatures are milder. The Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be held on Aug. 5-21, 2016, falling within the period when the incidence of diseases transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito is lower.
2. The Brazilian government, nevertheless, has taken all necessary measures for quick response to epidemics. In December 2015, it set up an unprecedented task force, with ample financial, technological and scientific resources. Around 220,000 Armed Forces personnel have joined 300,000 public agents and volunteers all over Brazil to get rid of possible mosquito breeding grounds in every house in Brazil. The government has also earmarked $125 million to strengthen the fight against Aedes aegypti in 2016, this on top of the $524-million budget that has been allocated for health and surveillance promotion to combat diseases.
3. For the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the government of Brazil has already adopted major precautions. All construction areas of the Olympic venues will get regular visits from environmental health officers in order to “neutralize” any possible mosquito breeding sites. All remaining reservoirs in construction projects will be removed; those that cannot be removed will be treated to prevent them from turning into mosquito breeding grounds. During the Games, all Olympic venues will be manned by at least one accredited environmental health officer who will be tasked to sweep-search for and clean up areas that could become breeding sites. In addition to these accredited officers working within the Olympic venues, there will also be environmental health teams that are tasked to control the breeding of mosquitoes in the regions surrounding the competition and public gathering venues.
Should any clarification be needed, we encourage interested parties to contact the Brazilian Embassy.
—RODRIGO DO AMARAL SOUZA, ambassador, Embassy of Brazil
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