Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff says Zika virus has gone from a “distant nightmare” to a “real threat” against the Brazilian people.
In a pre-recorded, prime time television address Wednesday, Rousseff calls on citizens to unite to combat the mosquito that transmits the virus, which researchers in Brazil have linked to a rare birth defect. Brazilians are urged to review their water storage tanks or containers within their homes, where mosquitos are likely to breed.
Rousseff also has “words of comfort” for the women who have given birth to babies with the birth defect, microcephaly, saying: “We will do everything, absolutely everything, to protect you.”
The head of the Pan American Health Organization Carissa Etienne has also said more resources are needed quickly if the region is to fight the Zika outbreak. Increased investment, mosquito control campaigns and health service support are all needed to prevent the virus from spreading.
“One fact of which we are unequivocally sure is that the Zika virus, like dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever viruses, is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. The most effective control measures are the prevention of mosquito bites and the reduction of mosquito populations.”