Three million homes examined for Zika in Brazil

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Brasilia, Feb 16 (IANS/EFE) Health personnel, soldiers and other civil servants participating over the weekend in Brazil’s “national mobilisation” against the Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito visited 2.86 million homes, the government said on Monday.

“It was a day of action” on which federal, state and municipal governments united “without partisan colours” against a problem that “threatens everyone,” Health Minister Marcelo Castro said at a press conference regarding the day of activities to fight Zika, dengue fever and Chikungunya, all transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Participating in the health-related activities were 220,000 military servicemembers and 272,000 public health personnel, of whom some 46,000 are specially trained to fight epidemics, the ministry said.

Brazil is one of the Latin American nations most affected by Zika, which in this country is suspected of being associated with a significant increase in cases of babies born with abnormally small skulls, a condition known as microcephaly.

According to the most recent official figures, 462 cases of microcephaly have been confirmed in Brazil and there are a total of 3,852 newborns under investigation.

Of the 462 babies diagnosed with microcephaly, 41 were infected with the Zika virus during gestation, according to the Health Ministry’s latest bulletin.

The day of activities against the Aedes aegypti mosquito was kicked off on Saturday by President Dilma Rousseff, who participated in several events conducted in a town in the interior of Rio de Janeiro state.

Under the slogan “Zika Zero,” 28 of Rousseff’s 31 cabinet ministers also participated in various related tasks around the country.

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