Cuba has yet to spot a case of Zika, but the country is now moving one step ahead in the fight against the mosquito-borne virus.

President Raul Castro revealed Monday that he is sending 9,000 army troops to keep Zika out of the country, urging all Cubans to help eradicate the mosquitoes that carry the virus.

"It is imperative that every Cuban man and woman assume this battle as a personal issue," Castro says in a statement published in the national newspaper Granma. He called on Cubans to clean up possible breeding areas for the Aedes mosquitoes.

Apart from thousands of active-duty officers and reserves, Castro also dispatched 200 police officers as part of the initial effort.

The army troops were out on the streets of the Cerro district in Havana, knocking on doors and spraying fumes on homes. Residents were cooperative as they gathered waiting for the chemical fogs to clear.

Castro said the country's fight to prevent the arrival of the mosquito-borne virus had been slowed down by "the inadequate technical quality" of efforts against the mosquito, poor weather conditions, and insufficient work to clean up places where the mosquito proliferates.

The Caribbean island nation prides itself on its free, neighborhood-level public health care system. This includes intensive efforts to eliminate mosquitoes, which could also be carriers of dengue and chikungunya.

"We are fighting by using the public health system so the Zika virus does not attack our country," said Cristina Suarez, a mechanical engineer and a military reservist who is part of the campaign.

Meanwhile, the president did not elaborate on his criticism of anti-Zika efforts. The workers for the program can be seen marking areas as fumigated even when no residents are at home or even when residents say they are asthmatic or allergic to the anti-mosquito fumes.

The army troops are perceived as more disciplined and more effective than civilian state workers, who earn $25 a month on average.

"Once again, the true leadership of the struggle against the threat of an epidemic is the responsibility of our entire people," added Castro. "[T]heir conscious participation is indispensable if this important and necessary task is to be successful."

The Zika outbreak is currently affecting large parts of Latin America and the Caribbean. The World Health Organization said the virus is likely to spread in all countries in the Americas except Chile and Canada.

But as reported by Tech Times, Canada is testing whether Zika could be carried and transmitted by mosquitoes other than Aedes aegypti.

Incidentally, there had been two suspected cases of Zika in Cuba, but they turned out to be negative. Currently, there is still no vaccine nor treatment for the mosquito-borne virus.

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