CDC backs away from using controversial insecticide to fight Zika in Puerto Rico

The CDC will not move forward with a proposal to conduct aerial spraying across Puerto Rico in order to eliminate mosquitoes and limit the spread of the Zika virus. The agency acquiesced to the wishes of island Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla two days after he opposed the plan and the city of San Juan filed an oppositional lawsuit, according to STAT.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court on July 21 in San Juan, stated that spraying the insecticide Naled would have negative effects on both the human and wildlife populations of Puerto Rico. Earlier this month Tom Frieden, MD, director of CDC, argued that aerial spraying would be the island's best defense against Zika-related birth defects like microcephaly. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also supported spraying measures.

The CDC told STAT, "CDC respects the decision of the Governor of Puerto Rico to not pursue aerial spraying with the insecticide Naled. We moved too quickly in our urgency to do all that we could to be responsive and prepared in the event officials in Puerto Rico decided to use Naled. Under no circumstances would CDC undertake application of Naled unless the government of Puerto Rico decided to do so, authorized it and requested CDC to do so."

The CDC initially recommended aerial spraying with Naled due to the high rate of Zika infection on the island. According to the CDC, there have been more than 3,700 cases of locally acquired Zika virus in Puerto Rico since the beginning of the outbreak.

More articles on the Zika virus: 
Texas Children's to open first Zika clinic in the state 
Travel eliminated as potential cause of Florida's 2 suspected local Zika cases 
Zika infection threatens 1.6M women of childbearing age

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