The explosive spread of the Zika virus in the Americas has got the alarm bells ringing here in India. This is because the mosquito which spreads the deadly virus is the same Aedes mosquito which is also a vector for diseases like Dengue and Chikunguniya. Both these viral diseases are already of great public health concern in India.

Officials from the World Health Organization (WHO) have warned that “Zika will go everywhere the mosquito is”. This makes India extremely prone to the spread of this disease as there is a large geographical spread of Aedes mosquito in the country. Zika hits children the hardest as it causes serious birth defects and other neurological problems like microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with an abnormally small head.

It’s not for nothing that they say that prevention is always better than cure. The best way to stay safe is to curtail the spread of Zika virus which directly means that we ensure that there are no mosquitoes around. And therefore, Save the Children urges people to ensure that their surroundings are clean and they maintain robust personal and community hygiene.

We have intensive Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) interventions in different parts of the country and we know how maintaining good hygiene can prevent the spread of such diseases. We are also successfully executing our ‘Stop Diarrhoea Initiative’ in four states of India through which we’re reaching out to a population of 2 million people (including 2 lakh+ children under 5) to prevent and control killer diarrhoea among these communities.

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