Paraguayan and Bolivian Armed Forces Fight Mosquito-borne Diseases

Paraguayan and Bolivian Armed Forces Fight Mosquito-borne Diseases

By Dialogo
April 03, 2015





The Paraguayan and Bolivian Armed Forces are contributing to campaigns in their respective countries to fight mosquito-borne illnesses, including dengue and chikungunya fevers.

“There are more cases [than usual] because the mosquito Aedes aegypti has multiplied due to the recent rains and…people who allow water to accumulate,” said Roberto Torres, Director of Epidemiology in the department of Santa Cruz.

Rainfall in the region has been some of the heaviest on record, according to meteorologists. The problem has been particularly acute in Bolivia, where flooding in the lowland plains of the Amazon has left destruction and wet conditions in its wake – perfect breeding grounds for disease-spreading mosquitos.

Consequently, both countries have reported dangerous levels of the disease. In Paraguay, 514 patients have been detected as infected with the chikungunya virus, and 780 with dengue, according to the Ministry of Public Health. Meanwhile, authorities have declared an orange alert in Bolivia, having detected 258 cases of chikungunya since January.

Neither disease is typically fatal given timely treatment, but both have extremely severe symptoms, including fever, joint pain, and rash. Chikungunya can also be accompanied by a rash, vomiting and diarrhea, while symptoms for dengue include muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes, and exhaustion.

Emergency action in Bolivia


Response efforts in Bolivia have focused on the most populated areas of Santa Cruz, where more than 20,000 breeding grounds have been found. There, the Health Services Department (SEDES) is coordinating efforts by the Army and the municipal police forces to fight the diseases.

Soldiers from the Bolivian Army 8th Division, for example, are conducting fumigations in schools, hospitals, parks and houses to stop the breeding; in the department of Tarija, Army units are also conducting a fumigation campaign in coordination with SEDES technical staff and various Mayors’ offices.

Meanwhile, Soldiers of the Regiment of the Military Police School 2 “Lieutenant Rubén Amézaga Faure”, in Santa Cruz, are taking part in the awareness campaign against the spread of the diseases. Launched the first week in March with the participation of 65 Soldiers and three instructors, the effort involved dicrect contact with the population of Santa Cruz, to educate them on the importance of destroying mosquito breeding sites.

Additionally, other Army personnel are working alongside doctors of the program “Mi salud,” who have conducted more than 60,000 home visits in March to distribute larvicies for mosquito control.

“These campaigns highlighted the interagency coordination,” the Army reported. “They were conducted with the direct involvement of SEDES of Villamontes, Yacuiba, the Department Government and the Honorable Municipal Mayor of Yacuiba.”

A significant part of the Army’s efforts involves the hard work of cleaning and sanitizing potential breeding sites left by flooding in the region. About 28,044 families have been affected by flooding since last October, according to then-Minister of Defense Jorge Ledezma, a number that includes 32 deaths and six persons unaccounted for. Meanwhile, a state of emergency has been declared in the departments of La Paz, Chuquisaca and Pando, and Beni is under an orange alert.

In response, the Ministry of Health sent 11 medicat brigades to work on the prevention of the spread of the Chikungunya virus in the area, primarily through inspections and the use of biolarvicides to destroy mosquito eggs and larvae.

Soldiers of the First Division are helping with that effort, for example by maintaining security and supporting the cleaning campaign in the city of Cobija. They’ve done everything from protecting shelters to cleaning up educational facilities, streets and the homes of affected families, according to Colonel Ramiro Mojica Aparicio, Commander of the First Division.

Cooperative action in Paraguay


As the Bolivian Army continues its efforts, the Paraguayan Armed Forces are working as part of a national campaign to fight dengue and chikungunya in their country.

“The Armed Forces are present wherever we are needed, all the more so when it involves a question of the public’s health,” said Military Forces social communications director Colonel Jorge Mieres.

To that end, 200 service members are working in different cities in the department of Central, where the largest number of larval infestations have been found. Their work primarily involves cleaning empty yards where mosquito eggs and larvae have been found, for example by destroying old tires and buckets that might contain water where the larvae can hatch. They’ve also focused these efforts in schools, hospitals, health centers, public transportation terminals, workshops, cemeteries, jails, plazas, sports clubs and spas – all priorities for stopping the spread of disease.

“Also, with the individuals’ permission, we can enter houses to check for possible larvae and help in cleaning and destroying disease vectors.”

This effort has been coordinated by Paraguay’s National Malaria Eradication Services (SENEPA), in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare.

“Even working under the coordination of other institutions, the important thing is to work together for the well-being of all Paraguayans no matter who they are.”






The Paraguayan and Bolivian Armed Forces are contributing to campaigns in their respective countries to fight mosquito-borne illnesses, including dengue and chikungunya fevers.

“There are more cases [than usual] because the mosquito Aedes aegypti has multiplied due to the recent rains and…people who allow water to accumulate,” said Roberto Torres, Director of Epidemiology in the department of Santa Cruz.

Rainfall in the region has been some of the heaviest on record, according to meteorologists. The problem has been particularly acute in Bolivia, where flooding in the lowland plains of the Amazon has left destruction and wet conditions in its wake – perfect breeding grounds for disease-spreading mosquitos.

Consequently, both countries have reported dangerous levels of the disease. In Paraguay, 514 patients have been detected as infected with the chikungunya virus, and 780 with dengue, according to the Ministry of Public Health. Meanwhile, authorities have declared an orange alert in Bolivia, having detected 258 cases of chikungunya since January.

Neither disease is typically fatal given timely treatment, but both have extremely severe symptoms, including fever, joint pain, and rash. Chikungunya can also be accompanied by a rash, vomiting and diarrhea, while symptoms for dengue include muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes, and exhaustion.

Emergency action in Bolivia


Response efforts in Bolivia have focused on the most populated areas of Santa Cruz, where more than 20,000 breeding grounds have been found. There, the Health Services Department (SEDES) is coordinating efforts by the Army and the municipal police forces to fight the diseases.

Soldiers from the Bolivian Army 8th Division, for example, are conducting fumigations in schools, hospitals, parks and houses to stop the breeding; in the department of Tarija, Army units are also conducting a fumigation campaign in coordination with SEDES technical staff and various Mayors’ offices.

Meanwhile, Soldiers of the Regiment of the Military Police School 2 “Lieutenant Rubén Amézaga Faure”, in Santa Cruz, are taking part in the awareness campaign against the spread of the diseases. Launched the first week in March with the participation of 65 Soldiers and three instructors, the effort involved dicrect contact with the population of Santa Cruz, to educate them on the importance of destroying mosquito breeding sites.

Additionally, other Army personnel are working alongside doctors of the program “Mi salud,” who have conducted more than 60,000 home visits in March to distribute larvicies for mosquito control.

“These campaigns highlighted the interagency coordination,” the Army reported. “They were conducted with the direct involvement of SEDES of Villamontes, Yacuiba, the Department Government and the Honorable Municipal Mayor of Yacuiba.”

A significant part of the Army’s efforts involves the hard work of cleaning and sanitizing potential breeding sites left by flooding in the region. About 28,044 families have been affected by flooding since last October, according to then-Minister of Defense Jorge Ledezma, a number that includes 32 deaths and six persons unaccounted for. Meanwhile, a state of emergency has been declared in the departments of La Paz, Chuquisaca and Pando, and Beni is under an orange alert.

In response, the Ministry of Health sent 11 medicat brigades to work on the prevention of the spread of the Chikungunya virus in the area, primarily through inspections and the use of biolarvicides to destroy mosquito eggs and larvae.

Soldiers of the First Division are helping with that effort, for example by maintaining security and supporting the cleaning campaign in the city of Cobija. They’ve done everything from protecting shelters to cleaning up educational facilities, streets and the homes of affected families, according to Colonel Ramiro Mojica Aparicio, Commander of the First Division.

Cooperative action in Paraguay


As the Bolivian Army continues its efforts, the Paraguayan Armed Forces are working as part of a national campaign to fight dengue and chikungunya in their country.

“The Armed Forces are present wherever we are needed, all the more so when it involves a question of the public’s health,” said Military Forces social communications director Colonel Jorge Mieres.

To that end, 200 service members are working in different cities in the department of Central, where the largest number of larval infestations have been found. Their work primarily involves cleaning empty yards where mosquito eggs and larvae have been found, for example by destroying old tires and buckets that might contain water where the larvae can hatch. They’ve also focused these efforts in schools, hospitals, health centers, public transportation terminals, workshops, cemeteries, jails, plazas, sports clubs and spas – all priorities for stopping the spread of disease.

“Also, with the individuals’ permission, we can enter houses to check for possible larvae and help in cleaning and destroying disease vectors.”

This effort has been coordinated by Paraguay’s National Malaria Eradication Services (SENEPA), in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare.

“Even working under the coordination of other institutions, the important thing is to work together for the well-being of all Paraguayans no matter who they are.”


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