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IDB announces support for the fight against Zika

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$180 million available immediately for Latin America and Caribbean countries

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) today announced it will make available to its borrowing countries a variety of financial and technical resources to support efforts to control and prevent infections with the Zika virus.

The IDB is ready to reorient up to $180 million at the request of countries that have programs already approved with the Bank. These resources will be able to support efforts to control the principal transmission vector of this disease, the _aedes aegypti _mosquito, and other public health measures.

“Zika represents a significant threat to many of our countries, but I am certain that with decisive action and perseverance we will be able to overcome it,” said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno. “We want to offer the most flexibility possible to governments that are already starting to fight the virus.”

The people of Latin America and the Caribbean had not been exposed to Zika before 2015 and therefore lack immunity to the disease. There is no vaccine against this disease and its potential complications.

The IDB currently supports programs designed to:

  • improve the capacity to diagnose and monitor contagious diseases;

  • provide products and equipment to strengthen the capacity of public health services to respond to health threats;

  • supply insect repellents and other materials to women who are pregnant or of child-bearing age to reduce the risk of exposure;

  • support preventive environmental and sanitation measures, such as the elimination of vectors through the management of standing water, elimination of breeding grounds, fumigation and treatment of garbage;

  • support information and communication campaigns designed to change behavior.

The IDB, together with the International Association of National Public Health Institutes, is also organizing a meeting of experts from the region's ministries of health and national institutes of public health. This meeting, which will be held at the beginning of April, will coordinate the exchange of knowledge about the investigation into Zika and its diagnosis. Participants also will share information on the effectiveness of preventive measures and national and international controls in the fight against Zika.