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It’s not uncommon to see clouds of pesticide wafting through Cuba’s houses and neighbour­hoods. It is largely because of such intensive measures by ordinary citizens that the country has been among the last in the Caribbean to succumb to local transmission of Zika. As of 11 August, Cuba has recorded three people who were infected by local mosquitoes rather than contracting the illness abroad, compared with 8,766 confirmed cases in nearby Puerto Rico (see ‘Zika in the Caribbean’).

Although scientists and public-health officials are disappointed that Zika has finally arrived in Cuba, they are not surprised. “It’s not easy to avoid an introduction, because a lot of people are coming to Cuba from a lot of places,” says Maria Guzmán, head of virology at the Pedro Kourí Tropical Medicine Institute in Havana. The country has recorded about 30 confirmed imported cases.

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