RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) — Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Wednesday called on all Brazilians to help fight the proliferation of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits the zika virus.
The only way to fight zika is to stop the reproduction of the Aedes mosquitoes that lay their eggs on stagnant water, Rousseff said in a nationwide television and radio speech aired Wednesday evening.
Rousseff urged all Brazilians to help eliminate stagnant water in possible breeding places, while assuring that governmental buildings are being inspected for possible breeding places as well.
“I call on all of you so that we can fight together against the proliferation of the mosquito which spreads zika,” the president said.
The zika virus has been recently declared an international emergency by the World Health Organization. If pregnant women are infected with the zika virus, especially in the first weeks of pregnancy, their children may develop microcephaly, a syndrome in which a baby is born with a smaller cranium.
Rousseff described the virus as a “threat to Brazilian homes” and noted that the government will do everything to support the mothers of microcephalic babies.
Even though the threat of the zika virus is new, the Aedes mosquito is a longtime foe of the Brazilian population and authorities, as it also transmits dengue, which is endemic to Brazil and potentially lethal.
Dengue outbreaks are frequent in summer for months in Brazil and public campaigns to help control mosquitoes are made all year long.