Between 2015 and 2016, Brazil experienced the now-infamous Zika virus outbreak. The diseased infected an estimated 214,193 individuals and resulted in the births of 2,366 babies with congenital problems. Now, another mosquito-transmitted disease is giving the world anxiety: yellow fever. While Brazil’s yellow fever outbreak remains a problem concentrated in the state of Minas Gerais, World Health Organization officials are concerned that the problem is at risk for becoming an epidemic.
According to a Tuesday report, there are 184 suspected cases, with 53 deaths. This is the worst outbreak in 75 years. The state government of Minas Gerais has declared a “state of emergency” and asked for federal help. The WHO is monitoring the situation, since the disease has affected a region with low rates of vaccination.
So far, Brazil’s Ministry of Health has sent 1.5 million vaccines to the area. Minas Gerais, however, has requested an additional 2 million doses.
While the majority of infected people will have only a mild illness, characterized by body aches, fever, and chills, 15 percent of patients will grapple with more severe symptoms. These include a high fever, bleeding, and multiple organ failures. Among those patients, the mortality rate can reach 50 percent.