Brazil troops battle Zika mosquitoes
A health ministry worker fumigates a house to kill mosquitoes during a campaign against dengue and chikungunya and to prevent the entry of Zika virus in Managua, Nicaragua

More than 200,000 army, navy and air force troops are fanning out across Brazil to show people how to eliminate the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads the Zika virus, which many health officials believe is linked to severe birth defects.

The nationwide offensive is part of President Dilma Rousseff’s declared war on the virus that has quickly spread across the Americas.

The government says 220,000 members of the armed forces accompanied by community health agents and mosquito control teams are taking part in Saturday’s effort to educate the population on how to eliminate mosquito breeding areas in and around their homes.

The government says troops will visit 3 million homes to hand out explanatory pamphlets.

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