Rio Declares Dengue Emergency Ahead of Carnival

Dengue fever outbreak prompts officials in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro to declare a health emergency days before the carnival that attracts millions of locals and tourists alike.

Rio de Janeiro has already recorded 10,000 cases of dengue fever this year, compared to 23,000 cases for 2023, BBC reports.

Rio officials have announced opening 10 treatment centers for people with dengue, emphasizing the importance of early treatment.

Health authorities urged people to protect themselves against mosquito bites by using repellent and to get rid of any stagnant water at home, where mosquitoes breed.

The states of Minas Gerais, Acre, and Goiás have also declared a health emergency over the past weeks.

This year, the Rio de Janeiro Carnival will take place from February 9th to February 14th.

What is dengue fever?

Dengue, also called break-bone fever, is a viral infection caused by the dengue virus, transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Nearly half of the world’s population lives in areas with a risk of dengue.

Most people infected with dengue have no symptoms. In others, they usually begin 4–10 days after infection and last 2–7 days. The symptoms of dengue include the following:

  • High fever (104°F/40°C)
  • Severe headache
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

Most individuals will recover from dengue in one or two weeks, while others may need hospitalization.

Being infected for the second time increases the risk of severe dengue, which can be fatal. The symptoms of severe dengue often occur after the fever has gone away and include the following:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Rapid breathing
  • Bleeding gums or nose
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Blood in vomit or stool
  • Being very thirsty
  • Pale and cold skin
  • Feeling weak

Last year, Brazil approved Takeda’s dengue vaccine for use in children ages six to 16 years old. In the clinical trials, the vaccine offered 61.2% protection against infection and 84.1% against hospitalization.

In the United States, the dengue vaccine is available in Puerto Rico and is part of the routine childhood immunization schedule. However, the vaccine is not approved for travelers visiting high-risk areas.

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