The Zika Carnival

Zika Virus, how are we dealing with it?

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Poster warning about Mosquito Aedes aegypt in São Paulo

 

It is already Carnival in Brazil, and in Rio.The city is already crowded with tourists but I keep wondering how many people gave up the idea of coming to Rio after WHO (World Health Organization)  had declared Zika a global health emergency. I myself would have changed plans and decided to travel somewhere else if I was a foreigner. Even for those who are not in the group of  pregnant, the concerns about Zika might be making people think twice before visiting Rio.

In a televised address this week, President Dilma invited all Brazilians to fight the mosquito Aedes aegypt and listed some of the measures already taken by Brazilian Government to deal with the Zika crisis, such as: search for partnerships with other countries to develop vaccines and medications to fight Zika infection and a national campaign to spread awareness of Zika involving the deployment of 220,000 troops in the next month.

As I’m not a specialist in this field, I’m not going to deep into this discussion here, but as a Brazilian, and carioca, living in Rio de Janeiro, one of the cities where has already confirmed cases of zika linked to microcephaly in fetuses, I can only share with you how we, locals, are dealing with it and what we are doing to protect ourselves.

Our lives go on, with some concerns which we Brazilians are already familiar with. Every summer we have the threat of Dengue fever, another disease transmitted by Aedes aegypt that in the most serious cases can cause even death. Every year Brazilian Government and locals institutions run awareness campaigns to fight this mosquito. The most important recommendations are to avoid allowing standing water become a mosquito breeding site, which is to say not allowing standing water in outdoor containers (like flower pots, bottles, and containers that collect water), cover domestic water tanks so that mosquitoes cannot get in, avoid accumulating garbage and keep it in closed containers, unblock drains that could accumulate standing water and use screens and mosquito nets in windows and doors to reduce contact between mosquitoes and people.

But we know that eradicating the mosquito is almost impossible and there will always be a little mosquito to frighten us.

So, going straight to the point, what are we doing to protect ourselves? Well, I will share my family routine to protect ourselves from the mosquitoes. Here we go:

  1. Always use repellent when going out, especially on legs and feet.
  2. Wear whenever possible trousers and long sleeves. Ok, this is a little bit difficult to do as we are in the middle of Summer and with temperatures reaching around 40 Celsius, wearing long clothes means melting down, but anyway, at least, I’m trying to wear jeans more frequently and when I don’t do it, I go back to number 1 and guarantee I am well protected with repellent.
  3. Wearing white clothes (ok, this I’m really not doing, but I heard a Brazilian doctor on TV saying that the mosquitoes are attracted by dark clothes, so I’m trying to do it)
  4. I have screens on all my windows and keep them always closed. Although sometimes we still see a mosquito or two that somehow get inside, by the ventilation area, I guess.
  5. After 5 pm I try to keep windows closed, and turn on the air conditioner, so I can survive the heat.
  6. Before we go to sleep we always do a kind of mosquito patrol, my husband is the responsible for this one. He starts hunting oportunists mosquitoes that might have gone inside and finally…
  7. If we find any mosquito or any other insect we won’t rest until we kill it. As hitting those little monsters is very difficult (those little creatures are really fast and suddenly just disappear in front of your eyes) sometimes we have to use insecticides. This last one is really our last choice, as we know how harmful those insecticides can be to our health, but sometimes there is no other way.

Well, that’s it! For those who are interested in knowing more about Zika check one of following links:

  • PAHO  Pan American Health Organization
  • WHO – World Health Organization

Enjoy carnival!

 

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One comment

  1. Hi! Thank you for this post; I was wondering how was the Zika virus situation being dealt with during Carnaval. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend this year.. Awesome blog by the way! Keep up the awesome work!

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