- Government agents and military staff have visited 20.7 million properties looking for breeding grounds. 772.9 thousand (nearly 4% of the total) properties were identified containing breeding sites. The objective is to reduce this rate to ≤ 1%.
- Brazilian government is working closely with national and international research institutes in order to:
- Investigate the relation between ZIKV and Guillain-Barré syndrome;
- Investigate the relation between ZIKV and microcephaly;
- Develop a vaccine against ZIKV.
According to the Brazilian Ministry of Health, there has been a sharp increase in the number of cases of microcephaly, related to the ZIKV among newborns in Brazil starting in October 2015 mainly in the northeast region. The Federal Government of Brazil has identified this issue as a priority, and President Dilma Rousseff launched a national plan of action to combat this virus in December 2015. Various ministries and governmental organizations including the police, army, firefighters and others, have been mobilized under the leadership of the Ministry of Health to support various activities related to prevention, communication, monitoring, capacity building, among others. The release of a detailed National Plan is anticipated for 13 February. UNICEF Brazil, in an effort to provide support and in response to a request for assistance, has developed a proposal to support governmental efforts to address the epidemic. The action plan focuses mainly on vector control using the existing network with the Brazilian municipalities.
Brazilian government response
Brazilian government response is progressing. Over 20.7 million properties (more than 30% out of a total of 60,7 million estimated visits) were visited by health agents and/or military staff in order to reduce breeding grounds and engage communities. A major action day is planned to start officially on 13 February, involving 220,000 military staff and 300,000 public agents. The Federal Government is focusing on a community-centered approach in the fight against breeding grounds. Federal Government is also leading intensive discussions with national and international research institutes. Cooperation initiatives with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Fiocruz, Instituto Evandro Chagas (IEC) and Instituto Butantan are moving forward. The three main research focus so far are: investigating the relation between ZIKV and Guillain-Barré syndrome; investigating the relation between ZIKV and microcephaly and; developing a vaccine against ZIKV.