Just before receiving the world’s tourists for its famous carnival season, Brazil is hit by a yellow fever virus warning of the World Health Organization who now claim 162 people have so far died.
The southern state of Minais Gerais, just above the major cities of Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paolo has been declared a public health emergency by the WHO as 15 people died of yellow fever in a month’s time, bringing the total number of cases to 500 and the total number of dead to 162. It’s public healthcare system admits that yellow fever is now abundant in 94 of its 853 cities.
The state capital of Belo Horizonte is considered a ‘dangerous zone’ by the WHO because of the outbreak and they are recommending tourists travelling to Brazil to get a yellow fever vaccination at least 10 days beforehand.
Asked who should be vaccinated, the WHO stated: “Anyone 9 months or older who travels to or lives in these areas should be vaccinated against yellow fever. Because of current limitations in the availability of yellow fever vaccine in the United States, travellers may need to contact a yellow fever vaccine provider well in advance of travel.”
Already in 2017, Brazil saw an unusually large outbreak of the deadly disease, which appeared in areas not previously thought to be at risk. At the time, more than 770 people were infected, and more than 250 died.
Ms Roberta Tonelli Ferreira, who visited a health center in Sao Paolo, said: “They should have already vaccinated the whole population of this country.”
“They wait until a person dies, to have who knows how many deaths, for the public to be frightened to start vaccinating.”
The WHO then began expanding its map of areas of transmission, including adding all of Rio de Janeiro state. The risk diminished in the last months of the year but is now rising again to never before seen levels.
Yellow fever is transmitted by mosquitoes and affects the liver and the kidneys. It is often fatal.