The overall goal of the Zika AIRS Project (ZAP) is to reduce the burden of vector-borne diseases by enhancing USAID’s ability to implement mosquito control programs in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) with a focus on the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, and Paraguay. ZAP will provide technical expertise in vector control (VC) and entomological monitoring, conduct cost-effective commodity procurement, establish logistics management systems, and engage vulnerable communities in targeted countries through USAID’s additional funding to the President’s Malaria Initiative Africa Indoor Residual Spraying (PMI AIRS) Project managed by Abt Associates.

The first cases of autochthonous Zika transmission in Honduras were reported in December 2015. According to the November 2016 Zika Epidemiological Report from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO),[1] the number of suspected Zika cases spiked from January through February 2016, with a dramatic decline beginning in the last week of February. An upward trend in suspected cases began again in late March, peaking in June and July 2016, but only at about one-third of the suspected cases reported earlier in the year. All 18 departments have now reported suspected cases of Zika, and, as of early December, the highest suspected incidence was noted in the Departments of Cortés (including metropolitan San Pedro Sula), Francisco Morazán (including metropolitan Tegucigalpa), Yoro, Olancho, Santa Barbara, Choluteca and El Paraiso.[2]

This geographical distribution of Zika is similar to past dengue outbreaks, where the majority of all cases were concentrated in the two metropolitan areas of San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa. Of these, the highest incidence was found in “hot” zones characterized by a very dense urban population, the absence or scarcity of basic services (e.g., garbage collection, potable water), and low social cohesion and community unity.[3]

Despite the decline in suspected cases, a trend seen throughout the LAC region, the virus still remains a threat and the Health Secretariat (SESAL) is leading a coordinated response to the epidemic in collaboration with several international and local partners. ZAP Honduras will partner with SESAL and other implementers, including PAHO, Global Communities (GC) and Save the Children (STC), to jointly respond to the epidemic.

Key ZAP Honduras Objectives in 2017

In 2017, ZAP Honduras will implement entomological surveillance as well as vector control (VC) activities in four cities with high reported and suspected Zika incidence. These cities were chosen in consultation with the SESAL and USAID. ZAP Honduras will support the Government of Honduras (GoH) with establishing best practices in managing Zika-related environmental health risks, safe inventory and warehouse management, and applying recommended and evidence-based technologies, such as larvicides, to control transmission. With the GoH and other partners, ZAP Honduras will work to strengthen insecticide resistance (IR) management policies and establish a comprehensive domain of bionomic data on Aedes vectors to ensure data-driven decisions in any forthcoming arbovirus control efforts. ZAP Honduras will work at national, departmental, and local levels with various partners, including PAHO, GC and STC, to achieve the following key project objectives:

  • Implementation of high quality VC management to protect vulnerable populations from Zika virus transmission, closely coordinating household education and environmental clean-up measures with GC, STC and the SESAL in areas where multiple projects are working;
  • Establishment of entomological surveillance best practices in selected areas (including vector bionomic studies, routine monitoring, data reporting, IR policies and management strategies particularly for adult Aedes, and logistics); and
  • Enhancing capacity and skills of the SESAL and other counterparts in VC and entomology to establish in-country resources to program and implement activities for the reduction of Zika and other arbovirus transmission, closely coordinating with PAHO to include national, regional, and local training in VC and entomology, sub-national and community-level skill building, and procurement of supplies and equipment.

[1] Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization. Zika – Epidemiological Report Honduras. November 2016. Washington, D.C.: PAHO/WHO; 2016

[2] Secretaria de Salud, Unidad de Vigilancia de la Salud: Situacion del Dengue, Chikungunya y Zika a la Semana 48, Honduras 2016

[3] Avila, GA, Araujo, R, and Orellana, G: Situacion Epidemiologica del Dengue en Honduras Periodo 1991-2010, pp 156-162, In Rev Med Hondur Vol 78, No 3, 2010