Cuban President Raul Castro announced today that 9,200 troops and police have been mobilized in a campaign to eliminate mosquitoes and protect the country against the Zika virus.

Cuba has not officially recorded any cases of the mosquito-borne virus, but 28 countries and territories in the Americas and Caribbean have reported cases of active Zika transmission, with 1.5 million in Brazil, the hardest-hit country.

“In this environment, it is essential that all citizens and entities adopt the strictest standards of hygiene and take measures to combat the virus,” Castro was quoted as saying by the official media.

The World Health Organization says evidence is growing that Zika causes microcephaly, a birth defect in which a baby has an abnormally small head and often incomplete brain development.

The virus is also believed to be tied to a rise in cases of the paralysis-causing Guillain-Barre syndrome in eight countries, including Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador and Venezuela.



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