As yellow fever spreads toward big cities, Brazil struggles to vaccinate millions

Jill Langlois  – March 05, 2018

With air mattresses and beach chairs tucked under their arms, they began arriving as early as midnight, lining up down the sidewalk and around the corner in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“Make sure you have your vaccination card and your number in hand,” a public health clinic worker shouted to those lucky enough to have one of the 300 numbers that would allow them to receive a full dose of the yellow fever vaccine, good for a lifetime.

“If you’re not here when your number is called, you’ll lose your place in line!”

Brazil is fighting to stay ahead of one of its worst epidemics of yellow fever, a sometimes-fatal virus transmitted by Haemagogus and Sabethes mosquitoes and named for the yellowing of the skin and eyes of those infected.

Though the surge has largely been in rural areas, there is increasing concern that if people don’t get the vaccine, the virus could spread into the country’s biggest cities.

Deadly ‘tick’ virus OUTBREAK leaves 19 dead amid desperate scramble to contain spreading

Joseph Carey – February 5, 2018

A DEADLY outbreak has sparked a warning to tourists after a dangerous infection known as Kyasanur Forest disease (KFD) spread to hundreds of people in India leaving 19 dead, a watchdog has warned.

The virus, which is in the same family as yellow fever and dengue fever, is believed to be spreading from an outbreak that started in three villages in Sindhudurg.

The report from watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said: “Between January 2016 and January 2018, laboratory tests confirmed 332 cases of the disease in the district, and 19 cases of that number were lethal.

“The Indian authorities did not specify the incidence of the KFD in January 2018.”

The dangerous virus is spread to humans by tick bites or in milk from infected animals.

OUTBREAK ALERT: Yellow Fever Death Toll Triples In Brazil

Mac Slavo – January 25, 2018

The yellow fever outbreak in Brazil has taken a backseat to the flu outbreak spreading globally.  But, the death toll from yellow fever has now tripled and travelers are being warned.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday there are 35 confirmed cases of the disease, including a case confirmed in the Netherlands for a traveler who had recently visited Sao Paulo state. Sao Paulo even closed its zoo and botanical gardens Tuesday as the yellow fever outbreak that has led to 70 deaths is picking up steam.

The big Inhotim art park, which attracts visitors from all over the world, also announced that all visitors would have to show proof of yellow fever vaccination to be allowed to enter. The park said the measure was preventative only and that so far, no case of yellow fever had been found there.

Yellow fever is a potentially life-threatening viral disease that is transmitted to people by the bite of an infected mosquito.

USA approves BACTERIA weaponized mosquitoes to fight dengue, yellow fever and Zika

Strange Sounds – November 8, 2017

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the use of a common bacterium to kill wild mosquitoes that transmit viruses such as dengue, yellow fever and Zika.

On 3 November, the agency told biotechnology start-up MosquitoMate that it could release the bacterium Wolbachia pipientis into the environment as a tool against the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus). Lab-reared mosquitoes will deliver the bacterium to wild mosquito populations.

The decision — which the EPA has not formally announced — allows the company, which is based in Lexington, Kentucky, to release the bacteria-infected mosquitoes in 20 US states and Washington DC.

“It’s a non-chemical way of dealing with mosquitoes, so from that perspective, you’d think it would have a lot of appeal,” says David O’Brochta, an entomologist at the University of Maryland in Rockville.“I’m glad to see it pushed forward, as I think it could be potentially really important.”

Mosquitoes carrying deadly diseases could invade 75% of America, warns US government

Ian Johnston – September 21, 2017

Mosquitoes capable of spreading serious and potentially deadly diseases such as Zika, dengue and yellow fever could invade about three-quarters of mainland United States, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have warned.

The CDC, a US federal agency, has previously warned that climate change could affect human health in many ways including increasing the number of “disease carriers such as mosquitoes and ticks”.

In a paper published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, it revealed maps showing areas where the habitat was suitable for two particular species of mosquito, Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus to survive.

A study found 71 per cent of counties in the 48 contiguous states were suitable for aegypti and 75 per cent could support albopictus.

Infectious Mosquitoes Are Turning Up in New Regions

– September. 7, 2017

A mounting number of citations on a popular disease-tracking website suggests that mosquitoes may be moving into new ecological niches with greater frequency.

The website, ProMED mail, has carried more than a dozen such reports since June, all involving mosquito species known to transmit human diseases.

Most reports have concerned the United States, where, for example, Aedes aegypti — the yellow fever mosquito, which also spreads Zika, dengue and chikungunya — has been turning up in counties in California and Nevada where it had never, or only rarely, been seen.

Other reports have noted mosquito species found for the first time on certain South Pacific islands, or in parts of Europe where harsh winters previously kept them at bay.

Brazil’s response to a huge yellow fever outbreak: Kill the monkeys

Marina Lopes – April 15, 2017

BRASILIA — A yellow fever outbreak is tearing through Brazil leaving thousands dead in its wake — thousands of monkeys, that is.

The epidemic, the worst Brazil has seen in decades, has killed more than 200 people so far. But it’s also threatening to wipe out some of the country’s most endangered primates. Not only are monkeys susceptible to yellow fever, but local residents have begun pre-emptively killing monkeys, incorrectly assuming that they help spread the disease.

As the epidemic advances, rural towns are littered with monkey corpses falling from trees, terrifying villagers. One town in the southern state of Minas had to close down a park after 38 dead monkeys were found in its premises.

But, contrary to local lore, these primates don’t transmit the disease. In fact, they play a crucial role in preventing its spread. A dead monkey is often the first sign yellow fever has reached a new town, which can serve as an alarm bell for authorities directing vaccination campaigns. It’s a warning sign that allows health officials to monitor the disease before it hits humans.

Thousands of howler monkeys killed in unprecedented wave of death in Brazil

Strange Sounds – Mar 27, 2017

In some deep forests of southern Brazil, thousands of howler monkeys have been killed by what scientists called an unprecedented wave of death.

After the death of thousands of howler monkeys by the yellow fever virus, there now exists silence.

Well, now, the Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, a private federally-protected reserve, is experiencing an unprecedented wave of death that has swept through the region since late 2016, killing thousands of howler monkeys.

Responsible for this mass die-off is Yellow Fever, a virus carried by mosquitoes and endemic to Africa and South America.

Small Brazil city on edge after man dies from yellow fever

Yesica Fisch – March 18, 2017

CASIMIRO DE ABREU, Brazil (AP) — This small city in the state of Rio de Janeiro is on high alert after authorities confirmed the death of one man by yellow fever and said they were investigating several other possible cases.

Health authorities this week confirmed that 38-year-old Watila Santos died from the illness on March 11.

A neighbor of Santos, Alessandro Valenca Couto, was infected and sent for treatment to a hospital in the city of Rio de Janeiro, where he is recovering.

Authorities are investigating possible cases involving four relatives of Santos, including a 13-year-old and a 9-year-old.

In the city center and rural areas of Casimiro de Abreu, about 93 miles (150 kilometers) from Rio de Janeiro, a large tent has been set up to vaccinate people. Authorities say around 30,000 of the city’s 42,000 people have been vaccinated in recent days.

Yellow Fever Outbreak Already the Worst Ever Registered

Brazil’s yellow fever outbreak now has infected 120 people. It is the worst epidemic ever registered in the country. In 1993, the disease affected 83 people.

The number of individuals infected, however, could be ever bigger. Health authorities investigate 623 suspected cases. According to the Ministry of Health, confirmation exams can take from 24 hours to a month. “We don’t know how big the problem is,” Artur Timerman, President of the Brazilian Society for Dengue and Arboviruses, told Estadão.

The bulk of cases is in Minas Gerais, where authorities confirmed 109 cases. Of those, 58 have died.  The total number of deaths in the country has reached 64.

São Paulo’s Health Department has confirmed three deaths in the state. Authorities are investigating other 17 cases.

So far, all cases are of forest yellow fever infections. There is no evidence of an urban outbreak – when the disease is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same that transmits dengue and the Zika virus.

The last urban yellow fever outbreak in Brazil was in 1942.