Cuba's Zika battle

Added On October 22, 2016

Despite the island's limited resources, Cuba has declared war on Zika, with fumigation squads going house to house to prevent the disease from spreading.
So far the efforts seem to be paying off.
This week Cuba hosts a regional summit to begin coordinating the Zika fight with 30 other countries. 
In Cuba where there's smoke, there's usually the massive effort to control Zika.
The island's hot and humid tropical climate is an ideal breeding ground for the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads Zika, the disease linked with birth defects in infants.
So all summer long Cuba has been on the counter attack.
House by house Cuban government health workers search out areas where mosquitoes can breed.
No potential threat is too small. Even the shell of a pet turtle must be cleaned to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs there.
"If you see eggs," the health inspector says, "you have to eliminate them."
After placing chemicals in standing water to destroy mosquito larvae, health workers fill the apartment with thick, toxic smoke to kill any of the insects that could be flying in the air.
"As Zika began to threaten the Caribbean, Cuba dedicated its limited resources to fighting the disease. Even the army is taking part in the fumigation campaign. Cuban president Raul Castro says the island is at war against Zika."
Of the 33 cases that Cuba has reported, two occurred in this Havana neighborhood. They were able to stop the spread of the disease by immediately isolating the patients.
SOUNDBITE(English): DR. MERCEDES PEÑA BRITO, Cuban family doctor
"It's very difficult if you don't isolate in the first 72 hours the cases of sickness to stop the spread of the disease. If there are mosquitoes and people who are sick it will keep spreading."
While Zika has spread virtually unchecked in much of Latin America and the Caribbean, Cuba says it has the disease under control.
On Thursday, Cuba began a two-day regional conference to coordinate the Zika fight with 31 countries in attendance.
SOUNDBITE(English): FRANCISCO DURAN GARCíA, Cuban health minister
"As the disease affects the region, it's important to have a regional strategy where we unify the efforts and strengths of each country."
While Cuba has reported success in containing Zika, there is still no vaccine against the disease.
Which means the battle against Zika will likely go on here for some time come.