Cuba detected its first case of Zika virus in February. On February 22, Raul Castro announced that he was “militarizing” the fight by assigning 9,000 soldiers to spray for mosquitoes across the island.
Since that day, soldiers and health workers have been going door to door, fumigating for the deadly mosquitoes. This video is an example of what has been occurring in Cuba, taken by a resident there.
Not just “hand-held foggers”
According to the Guardian in March
Gaps had been increasingly obvious in the effort to spray homes and businesses for the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which has infected thousands of Cubans with the dengue virus and dozens with chikungunya, a disease that causes fever and severe joint pain. Cubans frequently claimed allergies or asthma to put off fumigation crews composed of public health workers and teenagers completing obligatory military service.
Those days appear to be ending as troops deployed across the country with hand-held foggers are now armed with the threat of fines for anyone who resists fumigation and fog-spraying trucks and small airplanes are blanketing the capital and other cities with white clouds of pesticide.
Pesticide in your face
Castro’s method of stopping a Zika outbreak has many residents concerned, as you can see in the video. Some countries still use DDT to kill mosquitoes- though it’s usually effective for killing the insects, it also can cause birth defects during pregnancy. It’s toxic to people and food, and tends to hang around inside food sources.
Of course, the Zika virus is said to be causing birth defects as well in women who are pregnant when infected with the virus. Though it is initially transmitted by mosquitoes, it can also be transmitted sexually.
The CDC added Cuba to its list of level 2 travel advisories after a post-graduate student from Venezuela arrived in Cuba in late February and tested positive for it. Other medical students with the woman are in quarantine with no signs of the disease. Her husband and brother-in-law both came down with Zika virus in Venezuela.
Note: Level 2 travel advisory means “Practice Enhanced Precautions”