By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The state of Rio de Janeiro has asked the Ministry of Health to be included in the yellow fever vaccine recommendation area. The federal government of Brazil has already issued emergency situations for over sixty cities in Minas Gerais and one in Espirito Santo due to the outbreak of yellow fever.
So far, there has been no record of the disease in humans in Rio de Janeiro, but the intention of the State Department of Health (SES) is to expand the vaccination strategy as a preventive measure, which has already been adopted in Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo, where there were confirmed cases of yellow fever.
With the campaign in Rio de Janeiro, all the municipalities of the state will be included, reaching the number of 92 cities. “We have the rest of the municipalities, which are actually the largest, because it encompasses the metropolitan region of the state of Rio,” said Under-Secretary for Health Surveillance of SES, Alexandre Chieppe.
According to the undersecretary, the decision of the secretariat was made after the notification last week of the presence of monkeys infected with the disease in municipalities on the border of the state of Rio de Janeiro with the state of Minas Gerais.
The state municipalities must organize the campaigns according to the operational and storage capacities of each one. The secretariat expects 1.5 million people to be immunized each month to reach ninety percent coverage by the end of the year.
“We chose to have a programmed, responsible, quiet vaccination to immunize ten million to eleven million people,” he said. “[…] Each municipality has a characteristic, a different logistics. We will respect these issues because we do not have records of human cases in Rio de Janeiro,” he said.
The expectation of health agencies is that the entire population of the state be immunized for yellow fever by the end of this year. According to SES estimates, about twelve million doses will be needed, but of this total, three million have already been requested.
The undersecretary has also directed that the 92 municipalities of the state that will have the campaign adopt a new definition for suspected cases of the disease. To facilitate early detection, city halls should intensify surveillance by reporting every suspected case.