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Yellow fever outbreak: More than 70 dead in Brazil
Only about a year after the Zika epidemic in Brazil, yellow fever infections are currently on the rise in the South American country. Several dozen people have reportedly died of the dangerous infectious disease. Vaccination can be useful for travelers.
Yellow fever outbreak in Brazil
The global Zika emergency ended just a few months ago. The virus had led to thousands of newborn skull malformations (microcephaly), particularly in Brazil. Another tropical disease is now affecting the South American country. Over 270 suspected yellow fever cases have already been registered.
More than 70 dead
A yellow fever outbreak with several dozen deaths is currently worrying the people of Brazil. As with the nationwide Zika epidemic around a year ago, the state of Minas Gerais is again particularly affected, reports the dpa news agency.
According to the "Folha de S. Paulo" portal, the local health ministry has registered 272 suspected yellow fever cases in the past few weeks. According to this, up to 71 deaths can be attributed to the virus infection.
According to the report, 25 of those affected have definitely died from the infection transmitted by the mosquito species Aedes aegypti. This was shown by laboratory tests. Now, over two million additional vaccine doses are to prevent further spread.
Yellow fever in tropical Africa and northern South America
The yellow fever virus is common in tropical areas on both sides of the Atlantic. Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela are particularly affected in South America.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are up to 200,000 cases of illness and 60,000 deaths a year worldwide, most of them in African countries.
A vaccination against yellow fever has been available for a long time, which is recommended for numerous countries or even mandatory on entry.
There is currently no compulsory vaccination for entry into Brazil, but: “When entering from infection areas, the yellow fever vaccination is often checked contrary to the official regulations. Above all, but not only, this affects land borders. Since 2015, controls from international airports (e.g. Sao Paulo) have also been reported increasingly, ”writes the Center for Travel Medicine (CRM) on its website.
Vaccination advised when traveling to risk areas
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), vaccination against yellow fever is strongly advised when traveling to high-risk areas. "Yellow fever is often fatal and there is no specific therapy," said the experts.
Although there have hardly been any yellow fever cases in Brazil in recent years, Aedes aegypti is very common in the fifth largest country in the world during the hot, humid summer months.
These mosquitoes also transmit the Zika virus, which, according to estimates, infected up to 1.5 million people in Brazil in the previous year.
The number of infections has declined sharply in the meantime, which could be due to the fact that once infected people are considered immune to another Zika infection.
Yellow fever infections are divided into two phases
In people who are infected with the yellow fever virus, general symptoms of illness such as fever, headache and nausea initially appear after an incubation period of three to six days.
Most patients then recover. But in some cases, after a brief improvement, there is a second period of fever with bleeding, vomiting and organ damage. A typical sign is jaundice. Furthermore, cramps and confusion can occur.
If the course is severe, up to 50 percent of infections end in death, with mortality higher among unvaccinated tourists, according to health experts. (ad)