After Cuba was ravaged in 1981 by an epidemic of hemorrhagic dengue fever — a mosquito-borne illness — the island nation’s communist government launched an aggressive response that created the framework for its reportedly successful fight against Zika, according to an article published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature.
The article reports that as of Aug. 11 Cuba has recorded three people who were infected with Zika by local mosquitoes rather than contracting the illness abroad. Cuba’s first known local case was reported by the World Health Organization in March and involved a 21-year-old resident of Central Havana. The country has recorded about 30 travel-related Zika cases to date.
Among the country’s most effective measures for responding to dengue fever in 1981 was a heavy fine for Cubans found to have mosquitoes breeding around their homes, as well as intensive spraying of pesticides and the creation of a national reporting system for mosquito-borne illnesses, according to the article.