Zika Virus Update: El Salvador Finds Best Way to Fight Infection --- See how They Do It Here!
El Salvador is relying its fight against the Zika virus on an unexpected ally. The Salvadoran government is making use of mosquito-eating fish to reduce the population of Zika carriers.
Eduardo Espinoza, El Salvador's vice minister for health, submitted an op-ed piece to The New York Times that outlines what they are doing to combat the disease. He stated that, apart from setting measures like vector control, water treatment, fogging, spraying and cleaning, the government is also putting a mosquito-eating fish species, known as the zambo fish, in its water tanks.
Latin Correspondent reported that the zambo - also known as sambo - feeds on mosquito larvae. San Diego Playa, a small town in El Salvador, has already provided its residents and schools with the species and the locals have been instructed to put the zambos in water tanks, open barrels and water storage containers at homes, schools and restaurants.
Espinoza is confident that this will be successful based on previous measures. Apparently, El Salvador has been using the zambo to combat dengue and other mosquito-borne illnesses from 2012 to 2015, Tech Times reported.
El Salvador has had zero dengue and yellow fever cases since doing this measure. So far, there are no reported cases of Zika virus infection among the locals either.
"It's easier to eliminate breeding grounds of mosquitoes than to limit people's desire to be a mother or a father," said hospital worker Julio Morales, via Breitbart. "Killing the larva is fundamental. If people don't understand that, we're never going to stop this virus."
Countermeasures against Zika has become a priority among Latin American countries following the surge of microcephaly cases in newborn babies. The condition has been tied to Zika virus infection and, with no vaccines and treatments in place, prevention is the only answer.
The government of El Salvador is also one of the first Latin nations to ask its women to consider delaying pregnancy in the wake of the outbreak. "The recommendation is that people plan their pregnancies, that they avoid if at all possible to have babies this year," the health minister said, via Washington Post. "This is the first time that we have suffered an attack of Zika virus, and the first attack is always the worst."
The government has been doing radio and television public service ads as well, putting focus on the health of women and pregnant mothers in its bid to stop the disease.