Updated 08:52 PM EST, Sat, Jan 22, 2022

Zika Virus Prevention: Argentinians Increasingly Purchasing Mosquito-Eating Frogs & Toads

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Argentines are purchasing mosquito-eating frogs and toads from online markets to protect their homes from Aedes aegypti, the carrier of the feared Zika virus.

According to a report from The Agence-France Presse translated by Breitbart, Latin American countries are currently facing shortages of imported insect repellants as Zika continues to spread in the region. Now, Argentines have found another solution to combat the virus by training their eyes on live frogs and toads, which is to be kept around their homes to eat the mosquitoes carrying Zika, as well as dengue fever and chikungunya.

"Frog and Toad sale. They combat plagues, mosquitos, snails, beetles," one advertisement reads, as reported by Breitbart. The post is from 2010, but Facebook comments underneath it have increased in the past week. Some people are also trying to sell their own frogs and toads to those looking for the page through search engines. Even a used car sales page is offering to give away frogs for free.

The Argentine media outlet Que Pasa Salta reported of a Facebook page assuring a free gift to buyers who purchase more than five frogs. Other salesmen promise that their frogs will live for 20 years.

A frog or toad could cost as much as 100 Argentine pesos ($7) online, which is notably cheaper than an insect repellant that can be purchased for up to $10 a bottle, the Agence-France Presse further reported.

Frogs and toads are regarded as a natural and likely more effective tactic of containing the clusters of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, Breitbart wrote. Health Minister Jorge Lemus has said that fumigation is not a solution to the Zika crisis, given that the method only kills adult mosquitoes but does not destroy eggs or larvae, Argentine newspaper La Nación reported.

Lemus said that Argentina has five reported cases of Zika, with all of them acquiring the virus abroad.

"There is an important number of Argentine tourists in viral circulation zones, like northern Brazil and Colombia," he noted, as quoted by Breitbart.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito also resides in Argentina, but the country's distance from the Equator makes it a less ideal breeding ground for the virus during the winter season, the news outlet added. Chile, Argentina's closest neighbor, has no known population of the mosquito.

Zika, which is currently spreading in Latin American, has been connected to an increase of children born with microcephaly in Brazil, a rare birth defect where babies are born with abnormally small heads and incomplete brain development. Last week, the World Health Organization, or WHO, declared that the surge of birth defects is a public health emergency of international concern, The Guardian wrote.

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