Logic and joie de vivre: community action in Brazil | World Mosquito Program Skip to main content
Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brazil is famous for its football, the bossa nova, joyful carnivals...for the energy of its people and the paradise that is the Amazon rainforest and cosmopolitan cities like São Paulo and Brasilia.

In 2012, it also became the first country in the Americas to work with the World Mosquito Program. Brazil was chosen because it is the country with the highest number of dengue cases, a health system that struggles with the impact of diseases transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, and a community that was open to the World Mosquito Program's work. 

Community engagement and studying the mosquitoes in Rio de Janeiro and Nitéroi took two years, and it was not until 2015 that the first Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with Wolbachia were released. To date, 94.358 people living in the area have been reached and, according to recent records, there has been a 65% reduction in dengue cases in Nitéroi.

The local World Mosquito Program team created a series of informative videos covering public health issues, community action and results achieved in partnership with government agencies. As a volunteer in the project, Mr. Jair Aldy is featured in one of these videos. He, along with hundreds of other Brazilians, housed a mosquito trap in his home.

Mr. Jair Aldy, a community volunteer Brazil
Mr. Jair Aldy, a community volunteer in Brazil

Mr Jair speaks in a direct and friendly way, showing how easy he finds it to be part of the the World Mosquito Program community. From the beginning, he makes us feel welcome in his home, located on the Governor's Island in Rio de Janeiro.

"I had dengue ... it was a disease where I felt totally weakened, an atrocious ailment in the whole body, so anything that can be done against this disease is welcome," he says.

"I followed up the issue because I found it extremely interesting. I saw the whole campaign and I approached to participate."

The World Mosquito Program has made progress in Brazil thanks to the support of the community and the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), which receives funding from the country's Ministry of Health and in collaboration with local governments, including Rio de Janeiro, Niterói, Campo Grande, Belo Horizonte and Petrolina.

"The help we are being asked to provide as mosquito trap hosts to support the project to succeed is really very little. The number of people who have been involved before is impressive and our goodwill alone is enough to achieve good results... it's a question of logic and community action."

After the Wolbachia mosquito releases, the monitoring process begins. During this period, community members host mosquito traps in their homes and commercial establishments. Monitoring allows us to determine the presence of the Wolbachia mosquitoes in the environment and measure the success of the releases.

Thanks to the good results in Rio de Janeiro and the constant support of community members like Mr Jair, the World Mosquito Program has expanded its work to other Brazilian territories. His goodwill and the example he set for his neighborhood makes him a hero to us.