Science

Yellow Fever Outbreak In Brazil Kills 30, Officials Fear Epidemic

By Anne Dominguez , Jan 17, 2017 11:53 AM EST

Brazil public health officials are concerned that a small yellow fever outbreak in Minas Gerais State in southeastern Brazil might cause a larger epidemic. The outbreak has already infected about 110 people and caused 30 deaths as of Friday. Minas Gerais is an area with low vaccination rate for yellow fever. It is also adjacent to the populous state of Sau Paulo.

Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease with symptoms including fever, nausea, chills, muscle pain, loss of appetite and headaches. It further leads to bleeding, kidney problems and liver damage causing yellow skin. Yellow fever is spread by the same, Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries dengue, Zika virus and chikungunya.

A 180-day state of emergency has already been declared in Minas Gerais. The cases were considered sylvatic -- passed by mosquitoes in the wild from rural areas. It is expected to stop immediately with the cold weather, however, officials fears that if the virus reaches a city with more Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, it may result to fast yellow virus outbreaks and might go out of hand.

The government has already deployed more health workers to control the situation. "We are taking all the preventive measures, especially in affected areas in the rural zone," Gov. Fernando Pimentel said according to New York Times. "Everything that is necessary is being done, and with the help of everyone and the awareness of the population, we will overcome this moment."

There is no cure yet for the disease and the only recommended treatment is complete rest and use of pain relievers, fever reducers and drinking plenty of water according to Huffington Post. Yellow fever has mortality rate of about 20 to 50 percent. It causes up to 200,000 infections and 30,000 deaths every year, about 90% of which occurs in Africa. One of the most recent endemic yellow fever outbreak occurred in Angola with 345 deaths and 3,317 suspected cases.

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