Brazil is using drones to detect and destroy the breeding grounds of the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya viruses.

Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo, is flying drones over shuttered residences to check for signs of the mosquito in gardens, terraces and other places where they might breed.

Since the Zika outbreak across South America last year, the Brazilian government has intensified its campaign to contain the disease by inspecting and fumigating residential areas and business properties.

According to Xinhua, the federal government is on its way to meeting its goal of inspecting 60 million residences across the country.

Soldiers and healthcare workers have already covered 40% of sites, about 27.5 million homes, businesses and public buildings, the government said.

However, in some areas authorities were either barred from entering certain properties or found no one there to let them in, leading authorities to consider using drones to access such sites.

The west-central state of Mato Grosso has also approved a law to allow cities to use drones to combat the spreading of the virus.

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

The Sem Dengue app, available for download via the Apple Store and Google Store, enables users to send images of the endemic area and associate them to an address, which is then sent over to the relevant public health authorities.

According to the app’s developers, over 30 city governments are promoting the use of the tool in order to identify areas of concern, to plan for spraying and community information services.

Health authorities have linked the Zika virus to the recent increase in Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) patients as well as an increase in babies born with microcephaly in northeast Brazil. Currently there’s no cure or vaccine against the Zika virus.

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