Schools hold national Zika campaign day

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Yara Aquino reports from Agência Brasil

Schools from all over Brazil are holding a national Zika campaign day Friday (Feb. 19) with activities to raise awareness and call students to action combating Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are vectors for dengue fever, chikungunya, and Zika virus.

President Dilma Rousseff will visit a school in Juazeiro, Bahia. At least 25 ministers will also visit schools around the country. Vice-President Michel Temer will join the campaign in the Amazon city of Rio Branco, Acre.

Schools will have a busy day with talks, leafleting, and inspections to eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites. The activities will engage faculty and principals of school, universities, and federal institutes, health inspection workers, and military personnel.

Education Minister Aloizio Mercadante said prevention is the best strategy, and the active involvement of state and private education institutions will make a difference. The rationale is that students share what they learned about mosquito control when they get home. The efforts will continue throughout the year in the country's educational system.

“It's more than 200,000 schools in the state system alone. By reaching out to classrooms we can keep the young population informed. Today is an opportunity to get people to think about the issue [of Zika virus and mosquito control], but this has to be an ongoing campaign,” Mercadante said. The campaign follows a similar mobilization held Saturday (13), when President Rousseff and ministers traveled the country on a national day to eliminate Aedes aegypti.

Translated by Mayra Borges

Edited by: Graça Adjuto / Augusto Queiroz