Red Cross aims to reach 200,000 people in the Americas with information and mosquito control measures to end the Zika virus outbreak.
Friday February 5, 2016
A Red Cross poster that explains how Zika virus is transmitted. Image: IFRC
The Zika virus outbreak in the Americas is alarming due to the high number of cases and the rapid spread of the disease to 26 countries and territories.
The virus is transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito that also transmits diseases such as dengue and yellow fever. While fewer than one in four people infected actually develop symptoms, the disease has been linked with an increase in birth defects and autoimmune complications.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched an appeal to assist 200,000 people at risk of contracting the virus.
"We have to move fast and communicate the right messages to communities," said Julie Lyn Hall, the IFRC Director of Health. "In the battle against Zika, knowledge is power."
Red Cross societies in the Americas will work together on prevention, communication and mosquito control measures to reduce the spread of Zika virus.
As the virus has been associated with birth complications, the campaign will target young and pregnant women living in areas with poor sanitation.
Red Cross volunteers will be trained to provide their communities with accurate information on the virus, dispel stigma and encourage people to seek help if symptoms appear. To stop further transmission, Red Cross will work with households and local authorities to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds.
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