The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday it needed an estimated $8.5 million to help member states respond to the mosquito-borne Zika virus which is spreading through the Americas.

"We are mobilizing resources and estimate that we'll need $8.5 million to adequately help our members respond to this," Carissa Etienne, director of PAHO, told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of regional health ministers in Uruguay.

Etienne said fumigation had limited effectiveness as a means to wipe out mosquito populations, killing adults but not larvae.

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