“Zika: Arica´s pregnant women must be given repellents by the Department of Health”


  • Chilean Senator Alejandro Navarro called for a national and an international alert in order to prevent pregnant women going to Arica unaware of the risk, so they can take the necessary measures and consult first with their treating physicians”.

  • The MP also said that “the government should benefit from the Digital TV Law and launch a prevention campaign as soon as possible”.

In order to prevent the spread of Zika virus in Arica, the most northern Chilean city, after the discovery in the area bordering with Peru of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which can transmit the disease, Senator Alejandro Navarro called Health Minister “to urgently begin a prevention campaign, delivering repellents with diethyltoluamide (DEET) for women in the gestation period, and providing them at the same time, with the necessary information to prevent contact with the insects”.

Navarro said that “without doubt, we need to protect the entire population, since this mosquito, apart from Zika, can also transmit Chikungunya, dengue, yellow fever, could trigger the Guillain-Barré syndrome, and in pregnant women it has been linked to Microcephaly, a disease that affects fetuses with consequences often fatal or severe mental retardation when surviving”.

In this regard, the Congressman criticized the attitude of the Health Minister, who in an interview downplayed the presence of the mosquito in the country, stating that “we call for calm, because no one is sick. What is there is the midge, which transmits the disease, and now we will attack it“.

The legislator replied that “this is extremely serious and Chile cannot expect for the insect to infect someone and then to put alerts. The mere presence of the mosquito means that people will become infected with Zika. In that sense, we must have all the necessary resources to eradicate the disease and prevent people from getting infected”.

The Broad Social Movement (MAS in Spanish) Senator, who last year warned that the mosquito could arrive in Chile, now said the Department of Health “should coordinate and form a multinational team with experts and doctors from all Latin America”.

Biobio Region´s Senator also commented that, “it was contradictory to hear our Health Minister at the beginning of this year, saying that our country along with Canada were the only ones in which the presence of the mosquito that transmits Zika was not feasible, however, just now, Public Health Undersecretary has warned that Chile meets the climatic conditions to host the Aedes aegypti, adding, that the mosquito, which has not yet been determined how entered the country, could reach the Atacama Region”.

Considering the above, the MP asked the Minister Secretary General of Government to “invoke the Law of Digital TV, which imposes campaigns of public interest to all channels, because is needed that the government conduct civic education immediately, giving priority to direct communication with people through television. Otherwise, we will soon have Chileans infected with the disease”.

Press and Communications Office


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