Via The Guardian: Zika virus counterattack: Brazil's big plan to combat threat not easing fears. Excerpt:
Amid rumours and panic over the Zika virus, the Brazilian government is preparing to launch a “mega-operation” to eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites and to educate the public about its role in combating the spread of disease.
Brazil’s public health experts have welcomed the initiative, but few believe that these actions alone will eradicate the Aedes aegypti – the mosquito species that carries the virus.
And without concrete information about the virus and its link to microcephaly, none of the anti-mosquito strategies proposed by the authorities are without their share of controversy.
In a nationally televised broadcast last week, President Dilma Rousseff announced the mobilisation of 220,000 soldiers to accompany the country’s 300,000 health workers on house-to-house visits.
“As science has not yet developed a vaccine against the Zika virus, the only effective remedy we have to prevent this disease is a vigorous fight against the mosquito,” she said.
According to the ministry of health, health workers or members of the armed forces have visited 20.7m Brazilian homes, equivalent to around 30% of all the country’s private residences. The ministry estimates that 80% of the breeding grounds of the Aedes aegypti mosquito are based on private properties.
As well as Zika, which has been linked to a surge in cases of microcephaly, Aedes aegypti also transmit chikungunya and dengue fever, which killed 843 Brazilians in 2015.
It takes between seven to 10 days for a hatched egg to develop to adulthood; as such, health workers recommend Brazilians check their properties at least once a week. Gutters should be cleared; bottles upturned; rubbish bins firmly closed and water tanks sealed.
It is clearly a mammoth task, with little chance of total success. “The Aedes aegypti cannot be eradicated,” Christoph Hatz, a professor of epidemiology at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, told the BBC.