April 24, 2024
Fight Dengue Epidemic

Brazil Launches Nationwide Efforts to Fight Dengue Epidemic

Brazil has declared a public health epidemic over the surge in dengue fever cases during the country’s key tourist season. This viral infection is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes. The city of Rio de Janeiro, in particular, is highly susceptible to outbreaks due to frequent rains and high temperatures that accelerate the hatching of mosquito eggs and the development of larvae.

As part of the nationwide efforts, health workers are scouring junkyards and rooftops to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds. They are equipped with masks, plastic gloves, and hand pipettes to collect mosquito larvae and test them for dengue. Locations with positive tests are treated with a mosquito-killing spray, and health agents monitor these areas for weeks.

The surge in dengue cases is attributed to excessive heat, intense rain, and the circulation of four dengue virus serotypes at the same time, one of which authorities had not seen in 15 years. The leading research institute in Brazil, the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, predicts that the country could have as many as 4.2 million dengue cases this year, up from 1.6 million in 2023.

In Rio, more than 80% of mosquito breeding sites are located in residential properties. Therefore, efforts to combat dengue must start in homes, and raising awareness is crucial. Health officials have launched initiatives to encourage residents to inspect their homes for any standing water and distributed leaflets to educate the public.

During the Carnival festivities, health employees welcomed visitors with free repellent and a campaign van raised awareness about dengue prevention. The impact of Carnival on the spread of dengue will be determined in the coming week.

Brazil has recorded 512,000 cases of dengue so far this year, nearly four times more than the same period last year. There have been 425 deaths under investigation for dengue, with 75 confirmed deaths, as compared to just over 1,000 deaths in all of 2023.

Dengue can cause high fever, headache, body aches, nausea, and a rash. While most people recover after a week, some develop a severe form of the disease that requires hospitalization and can be fatal.

The Brazilian government is taking proactive measures to combat this epidemic and protect its citizens and tourists. Continued efforts in mosquito surveillance, elimination of breeding grounds, and raising public awareness about dengue prevention are critical in controlling the spread of the disease.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it