The first cases of autochthonous Zika transmission in Paraguay were reported in November of 2015, with the cases report in the city of the Pedro Caballero, in the region that borders Brazil. Paraguay reported 6 confirmed cases of Zika in 2015. In July of 2016, there were 8 confirmed cases of Zika, 2 probable, and 571 suspected.  Additionally, Paraguay reported its first two cases of microcephaly associated with the Zika virus. According to the Pan American Health Organization, while an overall decline was observed throughout 2016, an uptick of reported cases has started, averaging about 10 new cases per week, between December 2016 and January 2017.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies Paraguay at an Alert – Level 2 and recommends that individuals practice enhanced precautions to prevent the transmission of the virus. While reported numbers are relatively low, it is believed that cases are under-reported, especially in areas that share a relaxed border between Brazil and lack the proper testing equipment.  ZAP Paraguay will work in collaboration with the Ministry of Health in Paraguay to strengthen their monitoring and entomological testing in response to Zika response efforts.

Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that transmits the Zika virus, is found all through Paraguay in domestic and peri-domestic environments. Although there is not strong scientific evidence on the effectiveness of vector control for reducing transmission of Aedes‘ arboviruses, the example of Anopheles control/malaria reduction success is strong enough to suggest that improving technical abilities for vector control and entomological surveillance could make a difference. Such surveillance would be useful for measuring the effectiveness of interventions and could be used as a proactive strategy to tackle Zika outbreaks before they happen or as soon as they start.

Key Objectives 2017

ZAP Paraguay will support the Government of Paraguay (GoP) in strengthening their vector control and entomological surveillance across Paraguay.  Specifically, ZAP Paraguay will:

  • Help the GoP establish a molecular biology unit within their central laboratory, as well as strengthen their insecticide susceptibility testing procedures and protocols.
  • Work with GoP to implement best practices in routine entomological surveillance, insecticide resistance monitoring and managing Zika-related environmental health risks.
  • Work, in collaboration with the GoP and other partners, to update insecticide resistance testing to ensure data-driven decisions in any forthcoming arbovirus control efforts.
  • Support the GoP with establishing best practices in managing Zika-related environmental health risks, safe inventory and warehouse management, and testing technologies to control transmission.