Brazil Employs Cyber Mosquitoes in Zika Awareness Campaign

  • Campaign urges women to discuss pregnancy with doctors
  • Government will collaborate with U.S., global labs on vaccine

Open the Brazilian government’s main website and you’ll see mosquitoes swarming across the top banner. If you catch one with a fly swatter that appears, a link pops up to the Health Ministry’s anti-Zika campaign page.

The push to increase public awareness is part of the government’s latest drive to involve not only government workers and the armed forces but society at large in the campaign to eradicate breeding grounds for the disease-carrying mosquito. “Killing mosquitoes isn’t enough. We can’t allow them to be born,” reads one of the banners on the government website.

President Dilma Rousseff told Congress on Tuesday that the fight against Zika would be one of her government’s top priorities this year and that there would be no shortage of funding. She repeated that message Wednesday night in a televised address to the nation, saying Brazil would collaborate with the U.S. and international laboratories to expedite the creation of a vaccine.

Zika is linked to microcephaly, a condition that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads and potential developmental problems. The virus could potentially infect 3 million to 4 million people across Latin America, according to the World Health Organization. The region’s health ministers met in Montevideo, Uruguay on Wednesday to discuss policy coordination.

The Brazilian government website provides guidelines to health care officials and pregnant women. One video clip urges people to use insect repellent, mosquito screens on their windows, and wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. Women wanting to become pregnant should consult with their physician, the notice says.

Link to government’s website.

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