By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Health Department in Rio de Janeiro state published a technical note yesterday (January 18th) raising the level of vigilance to patients with symptoms characteristic of yellow fever in the fourteen municipalities in the North and Northwest Fluminense regions that border Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo states.
Authorities announced that a total of 250,000 doses of the yellow fever vaccine were also requested from the Ministry of Health, which will be distributed to these cities, to create a blocking region against the disease virus.
Last week 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, and this morning the Ministry of Health confirmed eight deaths due to the disease.
The eight confirmed fatalities so far this year (2017) in Minas Gerais is already more than the total recorded for the whole year 2015 and 2016 when five cases were registered in each. The secretary of health in Rio de Janeiro emphasized that the vaccines are only a precautionary measure, and that no cases of yellow fever were registered in the state of Rio in 2016 and 2017.
The vaccinations in the fourteen municipalities of Rio will be carried out in compliance with the criteria of the Ministry of Health, according to government news sources. In an integrated action with neighboring states, the Secretariat will provide 400,000 vaccination syringes to the Government of the State of Espírito Santo.
The measures in Rio will be applied in the municipalities of Santo Antônio de Pádua, Miracema, Laje do Muriaé, Itaperuna, Natividade, Porciúncula, Varre-Sai, Bom Jesus do Itabapoana, São Francisco de Itabapoana, Cantagalo, Carmo, Sapucaia, Comendador Levy Gasparian and in the north of Campos dos Goytacazes.
Yellow fever is an acute febrile infectious disease transmitted by mosquitoes (in urban areas by the Aedes aegypti mosquito). The most common signs and symptoms of the disease are: high fever, chills, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, nausea and vomiting that last, on average, three days.
In the most severe forms of the disease, jaundice (yellow eyes and skin), hepatic and renal insufficiency, hemorrhagic manifestations and intense tiredness may occur.
Yellow fever can become more serious, causing heart, liver, kidney problems along with bleeding (hemorrhaging) and jaundice (yellow eyes and skin). Up to fifty percent of people with the more severe form of yellow fever die of the disease.