By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Minas Gerais state’s governor, Fernando Pimentel, declared a public health emergency in the eastern part of the state due to the high number of suspected cases of yellow fever. According to authorities there are already 133 suspected cases of the disease and 38 suspicious deaths linked to the virus.
“Yellow fever, which in Brazil was thought to be eradicated seventy years ago, manifests itself again and shows a lot of force in this region of Minas Gerais. It is of great concern and we have to avoid that this situation, which today requires monitoring, does not turn into an emergency,” said Governor Pimentel on Friday.
“Measures are already being taken, but we cannot ease up and we cannot falter. Today, this is the most important issue for the state government,” Pimentel added after signing two orders of priority investment of R$26 million for actions to cope with the outbreak of the disease in the eastern region of the state.
The emergency declaration authorizes the government to adopt special administrative measures to contain the disease and expedites processes for the purchases of vaccines and medicine to treat the disease, as well as allowing for the temporary hiring of health agents to help combat yellow fever.
There are reports that Minas Gerais health officials are going door-to-door in the affected region to immunize those who were not vaccinated against the disease. Anyone over the age of six in the affected area is being immunized. For those who did not have the vaccine before this outbreak two doses will be administered.