Does a new large-scale pandemic threaten Brazil? Barely recovered from the Covid-19 carnage (which claimed 709,000 victims here), the Latin American giant is today facing the rapid spread of another devastating virus, this time known: dengue. The explosion in the number of infections in recent weeks is such that experts are already talking about a crisis “historical” Swear “Unprecedented”.
Since the beginning of 2024, the Ministry of Health has counted more than 408,000 cases of this viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes. Aedes aegyptiwhich causes pain and high fever, or 337% more than the same period in 2023. Already, 62 people have officially died as a result of infections linked to the virus, but 279 other so-called “deaths” are suspected. Also certified.
More than half of the cities are affected and four states have declared a state of health emergency. The situation is particularly dire in Minas Gerais (Southeast), Acre (Amazon), Paraná (South) and, above all, the Federal District of Brasilia. The capital has a rate of 1,700 dengue fever cases per 100,000 inhabitants, above the alert threshold of 300 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
“Heat and Humidity”
As alarming as it is, the epidemic is still in its infancy. According to the Ministry of Health, Brazil could face a wave of 4.2 to 5 million cases of dengue in 2024: unheard of in a country long accustomed to tropical diseases. For comparison, the worst year in this regard is 2015. At that time 1.6 million Brazilians were infected with dengue fever, three times less than the forecast established for 2024.
For several days, a small wind of panic has been blowing across Brazil. Sales of mosquito repellent sprays have increased by 400%, according to statistics from the Nutrix Group, a specialist in this type of product. In Brasilia, hospitals are struggling to cope with an influx of thousands of fever patients. To relieve the sector, the Air Force opened a field hospital on February 5 in Silandia, one of the “satellite cities” of the capital. In just three days, he received more than 3,500 patients.
“At the root of this epidemic, we find a combination of factors”Details Adilson Louise Durigón, a virologist at the Pasteur Institute in São Paulo. The first of these is climate: “Drought in 2023 due to El Niño event and high temperatures caused heavy rainfall. Heat and humidity: this is the ideal cocktail for mosquito propagation”The researcher insists.
You have 60% of this article left to read. The rest is reserved for subscribers.