The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday issued new guidelines for mosquito control in the context of ongoing transmission of Zika virus which has been reported in 47 countries and territories.
WHO said the geographical reach of the Zika virus had steadily widened since the virus was first detected in the Americas in 2015. The virus is likely to be transmitted and detected in other countries within the geographical range of the mosquitos conducting the virus, especially the Aedes aegypti.
The guidelines focused on using safe and effective insecticides against the adult and larval populations of mosquito vectors as one of the best ways to rapidly interrupt the transmission of Zika virus, as well as other viruses transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes such as chikungunya and dengue.
According to the WHO, apart from insecticide use, strategies to reduce transmission also included eliminating mosquito breeding sites, using personal protection against insect bites, wearing clothes that covers as much of the body as possible, and using wire mesh screens or treated netting materials on doors and windows.
WHO recommended full community engagement, combined with coordination between health ministries and local government units.
WHO is encouraging Zika-affected countries to strengthen the monitoring of the spread of disease, boost the use of current mosquito control interventions and to test new approaches that could be applied in future.
The Zika virus is thought to be related to the increase of microcephaly, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and other neurological conditions in South America. So far, Brazil confirmed 641 microcephaly cases associated with congenital infection. Eight countries and territories have reported an increased incidence of Guillain-Barre syndrome.