September 26, 2011

Rio may have dengue fever epidemic next summer: mayor

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- The Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiroe may have an unprecedented dengue fever epidemic next summer, its mayor warned on Wednesday.
The increasing number of dengue fever cases in the past few months shows similarities to the months predecing the 2002 and 2008 epidemics, Mayor Eduardo Paes said.
"Everything points to a new cycle of the disease, certainly the worst epidemic in Rio's history," he said.
In 2008, Rio registered some 250,000 cases of dengue fever, with 174 people confirmed dead from the disease. In 2002, Rio had some 290,000 dengue fever cases and 91 people died.
In efforts to halt the spread of the disease, Paes has declared a state of alert and is determined to take a series of measures to eliminate the habitat of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits dengue fever through its bite.
Paes also announced an increase in the number of health care units for dengue fever patients. The total cost of a dengue prevention and combat program, which is expected to last until April 2012, will reach 42 million reais (26.25 million U.S. dollars).
There is no vaccine against dengue fever, but Brazilian scientists are currently working on one which will immunize against four types of the disease.