Brazil has experienced a significant rise in dengue fever cases since the beginning of this year, with the number being four times higher than during the same period last year, according to government data. The Brazilian Health Ministry’s database showed that there were 262,247 probable cases recorded in the first four weeks of 2024, compared to 65,366 cases in the same period in 2023. The increase in cases is believed to be due to high temperatures, with the El Niño phenomenon being a contributing factor. Dengue fever has already claimed the lives of 29 people in Brazil this year, with 173 more deaths currently being evaluated for possible links to the disease.
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne illness that infects an estimated 100 million to 400 million people worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). While most cases are mild or asymptomatic, the disease can cause hemorrhagic fever in severe cases. The spread of dengue fever in areas of Brazil that were previously unaffected is a cause for concern, and health authorities are closely monitoring the situation.
The rising number of dengue cases has also put a strain on healthcare services in many metropolitan areas of Brazil. In Brasilia, the capital district, a field hospital will begin receiving dengue patients next week to alleviate the pressure on existing healthcare facilities. The state of Minas Gerais, located in the southeast of Brazil and the second most populated state in the country, has reported the highest number of probable cases, with over 88,587 cases recorded.
To combat the spread of the disease, teams of fumigators equipped with gas masks and dressed in protective clothing have been going door-to-door in affected areas in Minas Gerais, carrying out fumigation to eradicate disease-spreading mosquitoes. Despite initial reluctance from some residents to allow access to their homes, many are now cooperating as they become more aware of the high number of cases in their vicinity.
In response to the surge in dengue fever cases, the Brazilian government announced a free vaccination campaign that is set to target 3.2 million people in February. Priority will be given to children aged 10 to 14, as this age group has experienced the highest number of hospitalizations. However, the rollout of the campaign is facing limitations due to a shortage of supply from the vaccine’s developer, Japanese pharmaceutical company Takeda. The Brazilian health ministry stated that the country is expecting to receive 6.5 million doses of the two-dose vaccine, which is specifically tailored for children.
As the dengue fever outbreak in Brazil continues to worsen, it is crucial for authorities to take swift action to control the spread of the disease. Efforts should focus not only on vaccination campaigns but also on implementing effective mosquito control measures and raising awareness among the public about preventive measures. It is essential to prioritize the health and well-being of the population and to address the strain on healthcare services caused by the surge in dengue cases.
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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