By Sarah de Sainte Croix, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Rio registered its first case of Type 4 dengue fever in almost thirty years on Friday, the case occurred in the West Zone of the city. Doctors are concerned that the re-emergence of the strain, which was thought to have been eradicated from Brazil in the 1980s, could lead to a future epidemic of the disease, although they stress that it is unlikely to occur this year.

A mosquito bite caries the dengue fever, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
A mosquito bite caries the dengue fever, photo by Dr. Relling/Flickr Creative Commons License.

According to experts, the Type 4 strain is no more harmful than the more common types 1, 2 and 3. However, the major concern is that, while a significant percentage of the population is immune to the first three strains due to previous exposure to the virus, very few people will be immune to this latest strain.

Marcos Lago, an assistant professor of pediatrics and infectious disease specialist at UERJ, told O GLobo, “There is the potential for an epidemic. I don’t want to say that this will happen this year. In May, June, when the weather cools down, the mosquito will stop circulating. But the larvae stay alive for a year. The danger will return next year.”

He warns, “Only a massive campaign could reverse the situation.”

Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so authorities recommend keeping water tanks and garbage containers tightly closed, clearing debris from roofs to allow proper drainage, and scattering sand on areas that collect moisture, like the dishes under potted plants.

On an individual level, preventing dengue means wearing insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon or eucalyptus, or IR3535, and sleeping under a mosquito net. Travelers are advised to stay in hotels or hostels that are air conditioned or well screened, and periodically sprayed with insecticide.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Update is a new feature we are offering to help keep you up-to-date with major news as it happens.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Well this not good news. With Carnival round the corner, lets hope the samba gets the mossies into vibrations that they cant strike a bite but get full of music and feel sorry and not bite those pretty revellers. play mas

  2. Dengue mosquito is active only during the day when we are awake and able to defend ourselves. On the beach there are no mosquitos anyway because of wind and sun. In the rooms as soon as you see a mosquito you kill it. No need to use all the toxic and not very efficient insect repellents.

  3. Dr John Stewart: how much silver in the drinking water ppb or ppt? Would the silver accumulate in the liver? I read about gold for autoimmune diseases, and I know Ag on resins can kill bacteria.

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