CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela authorities have broken their silence on the outbreak of Zika in the South American country and are pledging to mount a public health campaign to slow the virus’ spread.
Health Minister Luisana Melo said Thursday on state television that 4,700 suspected cases of Zika have been recorded in Venezuela.
She says the country will begin fumigation operations and step up training of medical workers to protect against the mosquito-borne illness, which is being studied for possible links to birth defects.
Venezuela’s socialist administration had been criticized in recent days for failing to publish statistics about Zika or take steps to control the outbreak.
Other Latin American countries are also stepping up mosquito eradication efforts. And some, including neighboring Colombia and Brazil, have recommended that women consider postponing pregnancies.