Rio De Janeiro declares state of emergency as Brazil prepares for festival

Pilar Olivares/Reuters

Nurses treat patients at a dengue emergency unit in Rio de Janeiro on February 6.

San Paulo, Brazil

A public health emergency has been declared in Rio de Janeiro due to the epidemic Dengue feverA few days ago Carnival celebrations To be held throughout Brazil.

The city's mayor, Eduardo Pius, announced the move on Monday, according to CNN affiliate CNN Brazil, in an effort to curb the spread of the mosquito-borne disease, which causes flu-like symptoms and can lead to death in severe cases.

The upheaval in Dengue The cases have added urgency to the nationwide vaccination drive, and Rio is gearing up for its world-famous carnival, which officially begins Friday. Pre-Lent celebrations are held across Brazil, with Rio's colorful parades and block parties known as some of the biggest parties in the world as millions of people flock to the streets.

This year, Rio has already recorded 11,200 dengue cases, with nearly 23,000 dengue cases reported throughout 2023, according to the city council's Epidemiological Monitoring Committee.

In January alone, 362 people were hospitalized in Rio due to dengue — the most since 2008, according to CNN Brazil.

“In a single month of 2024, there are already almost half the cases of the entire previous year, which created serious concern,” Rio's municipal health secretary Daniel Sorens said last Friday.

The city said it would open 10 care centers across Rio to prevent further spread of the disease, and Reuters reported that the health ministry had set up an emergency center to coordinate operations.

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According to Reuters, Rio is one of three states to declare public health emergencies due to rising dengue infections, including the second most populous state of Minas Gerais and the federal district where the capital Brasilia is located.

In the first five weeks of the year, nearly 365,000 dengue infections were reported across the country – four times more than the same period last year, Reuters reported, citing the health ministry. Forty deaths have been confirmed, the ministry said.

“Many Brazilian cities are facing a state of emergency due to a large increase in dengue cases,” Brazil's Health Minister Nísia Trindade said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Since last year there has been high heat and above average rainfall. Now is the time for all of Brazil to unite against dengue.

Dengue is a Viral infection spreads Through the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same insect that spreads Zika, chikungunya and yellow fever.

It causes piercing headaches, muscle and joint pains, fever and rashes, although only 25% of sufferers show symptoms. Severe cases can cause bleeding, shock, organ failure, and death.

Dengue is a common mosquito-borne virus that infects millions of people worldwide each year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although there is no specific treatment for the disease, Brazil is planning a mass vaccination campaign against dengue.

Brazil approved the vaccine in March 2023, becoming the first country to offer dengue vaccination in a public health system, according to the Ministry of Health.

The ministry's plan is to vaccinate 3.2 million people by 2024, starting with children aged 10 to 14, with Japanese drugmaker Takeda's Qdenga vaccine.

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“The vaccination will take place gradually, given the limited number of doses produced by the manufacturing laboratory,” Nísia said in a statement. “At the same time, the Ministry of Health will coordinate a national effort to expand production and access to dengue vaccines.”

Brasilia will begin vaccinations on Friday, Reuters reported.

Rio's municipal health department also plans to vaccinate children once the dose is released by the health ministry, CNN Brazil reported.

Clinical trials have shown that the vaccine has reduced the risk of severe dengue by 80-90%. According to For an article published last month in the Lancet.

Speaks in Brasilia On Wednesday, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Brazil's current dengue outbreak was “triggered by the El Niño phenomenon,” a natural weather pattern that originates in the Pacific Ocean and affects global weather. There is a current El Nino Turned out to be one of the strongest on recordAccording to new data from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.

“In fact, this outbreak of dengue is part of a global outbreak of dengue, with more than 5 million cases and 5,000 cases reported last year from 80 countries in every region of the world except the Europe region,” Tedros said.

Of those 5 million global cases, nearly 3 million are in Brazil, according to WHO data.

Number of dengue cases worldwide has increased Eight times over the past two decades, according to the World Health Organization is operated High temperatures and monsoons ahead.

As man-made The climate crisis is worseningMosquito-borne diseases are becoming more widespread and have an ever-greater impact on human health.

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This story has been updated with additional updates. Additional reporting by Reuters.

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