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São Paulo city uses technology to fight zika

A drone and mobile apps are being used to identify mosquito-infested areas in the city

The São Paulo city government is resorting to technology tools to detect areas that might be infested with the mosquito aedes aegypti.

In order to identify endemic areas of the mosquito, which transmits the zika virus - which has had a recent outbreak in South America that has led to worries of it spreading worldwide - as well as dengue and chikungunya fever, the government at the largest Brazilian city is using a drone to inspect homes.

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"The drone is helpful for checking mosquito breeding sites in homes where no one is in when community health agents are in the area," São Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad said.

Other tech initiatives launched by the city to fight the spreading of the aedes mosquito include a mobile app, which allows citizens to alert the government agencies about possible breeding locations.

The app Sem Dengue, available both for Android and iOS, enables users to send over images of the endemic area and associate them to an address, which is then sent over to the relevant public health bodies.

According to the app's developers, some 30 city governments already promote the use of the tool in order to identify problematic areas and plan for actions such as spraying and community information services.

There is no cure or vaccine against zika, which is linked to the rise in the number of children born with microcephaly - abnormally small heads and brains - to women infected during pregnancy. The World Health Organization has declared the rise in zika-linked birth defects an international emergency.

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