As reported by japantimes, in May, as the first cases of the Zika virus were being detected in Brazil, Rossandra Oliveira stopped receiving a critical tool she needed to do her job: insecticide.

Monthly shipments from the government to her office at the epicenter of the outbreak stopped. Oliveira, who manages mosquito control for this city of 400,000, was left helpless. The shortages continued even after President Dilma Rousseff’s government declared the mosquito-borne virus a national health emergency Nov. 11.

It wasn’t an isolated case. For several months last year cities and states on the front lines of the epidemic in Brazil’s northeast ran out of larvicide, and supplies nationwide had to be rationed, according to interviews with local health officials and documents obtained by The Associated Press from prosecutors investigating the shortages.

The lack of larvicide is only one of a string of public health failings crippling Brazil’s ability to manage the Zika outbreak and the surge in rare birth defects thought to be linked to it.

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