There is a widely shared concern over Zika’s recent and rapid spread, recently amplified by the games taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The World Health Organization has declared Zika a “global health emergency.” While symptoms are generally mild, Zika poses a more serious threat for pregnant women. The virus has been linked to cases of microcephaly and other birth defects, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
As information unfolds and concerns over Zika grow, Bayer is taking community education to a new, digital level with the Mosquito Learning Lab. The interactive online learning platform was originally developed to address the 2.5 billion people worldwide living in areas at risk of exposure to dengue, starting with children in Singapore. Bayer partnered with the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the South West Community Development Council (CDC) to make the learning module available to all schools in the South West district. The program was such a success that the learning lab is being adapted for other Asian countries, including Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
At the same time, on the other side of the world, Bayer is working with government organizations in Brazil to address the Zika situation--but not only from a product perspective. Brazil had more than 175,000 suspected and reported cases of the Zika virus in 2016, according to a recent epidemiological report published by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The global impact remains an open question with the Brazil Tourism Board estimating between 350,000 and 500,000 visitors for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Bayer is collaborating with the Brazilian government to first respond to the crisis and then look ahead to next steps. Before potentially introducing the platform into schools like in Singapore, the plan is to work with municipalities and health officials first, explained Frederico Belluco, Environmental Science Marketing Manager for Latin America. “These are the people who are exposed to the issue on a daily basis.”
Protection against mosquitoes has to be a shared effort between the government and the community, and one that goes beyond insecticides, according to Jason Nash, Environmental Science Innovation Manager for East Asia Pacific. The online learning tool makes education on mosquito control both flexible and accessible to a wide audience. Recently updated to include information on Zika, the learning lab offers easy-to-remember facts and quiz questions at the end.
Besides the use of sprays and repellents, global health organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the CDC recommend preventing bites through efforts to control the mosquito population. Some of the most common mosquito breeding sites are also the closest to home—an open bottle of water, an empty planter collecting rainwater in the garden. In areas at risk for Zika and dengue, community engagement through online learning is a step toward sharing the knowledge—and the responsibility that comes with it. The Bayer Dengue Learning Lab is spreading the word—one community at a time.
Learn About Mosquitoes from A(edes) to Z(ika)
Do you know which species of mosquito spreads the dengue and Zika viruses? What are the symptoms? Is there a vaccine for these mosquito-borne diseases? What can you do to help control the mosquito population in your community?
For must-know mosquito facts, including how to protect yourself, look no further than the Mosquito Learning Lab. Learn from virtual trainer Wendy but make sure you pay attention! There will be quiz questions at the end to test your mastery of mosquito trivia. Access the learning module (for free!) from any internet-connected device, anytime, anywhere you like.
Ready to test your knowledge? Check out the Bayer Dengue Learning Lab for more information on dengue and Zika. Try it for free.
Zika and the Olympics: By the Numbers
- The Rio 2016 Olympic Games are expected to attract 350-500 thousand visitors from around the world.
- Brazil counts +175,000 suspected and confirmed cases of the Zika virus to date.
- Only 20 % of infected people show symptoms.
- Nearly 1,800 infants born with microcephaly, a birth defect associated with the Zika virus.
- The level of risk changes with the seasons – historically the dengue risk drops by about 90 percent during the cooler winter months.