Brazilian health minister Alexandre Padilha warned on Thursday that the city of Rio do Janeiro is exposed to potentially one of the worst epidemics of the mosquito transmitted dengue disease in recent history.
“I consider Rio do Janeiro runs the risk of one of the worst epidemics, in number of cases of dengue in its history”, said Padihla. What makes things worse for the tourist city which is beginning this year’s Carnival celebrations is the predominance of the type 4 virus (one of the four of dengue), the least common to Brazil so far.
“This is not a more serious or the most serious case of dengue, it does not represent a higher death risk for people, but since very few persons have experienced it in Brazil, a far greater number are susceptible of catching it” argued the minister in a Thursday morning talk show.
“Rio do Janeiro is the city which most concerns the Health ministry” admitted Padilha emphasizing government efforts to prevent the disease must multiply.
So far this year, Rio has reported 3.499 cases of dengue which is considerable higher than the previous season with 2.322 cases, according to the official news agency Agencia Brasil. However so far there have been no fatal cases.
In mid December the mayor of Rio do Janeiro Eduardo Paes said that the city was in “high risk of an epidemic”.
In the rest of Brazil dengue cases have fallen 62% since the beginning of the year and 40.486 have been reported to 11 February, compared to 106.373 cases a year ago, according to the official stats.
Dengue is caused by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito and besides high fever, exhaustion; pain in articulations can also bring painful skin rashes.