By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – So far this year, nearly 54,000 suspected cases have been recorded in Rio state, and although less than last year, ten deaths have so far been attributed to the disease. The Department of Health and Civil Defense is today embarking on a mass operation to rid Rio neighborhoods of breeding hotspots of mosquitoes responsible for transmitting dengue fever.
Officials will inspect streets and properties in an attempt to eliminate potential breeding grounds, as well as educating locals about the risks of the disease and how to combat it.
The virus which leads to the infectious tropical disease, which can be fatal, particularly if left untreated, is carried by mosquitoes belonging to the Aedes genus, and April and May are their key breeding seasons.
Experts say that, as no vaccine is available, habitat management is the best option – often meaning simply ridding an area of standing water, although pesticides are also an option.
Most people develop immunity from the disease after the first infection, but some do not – and thousands of fatalities are registered globally each year due to lack of treatment.
A growing number of reported cases of dengue in recent times has forced the Department of Health to set up new hydration centers to treat those infected, and also offer rapid dengue tests.
Earlier this year, doctors voiced concerns that dengue could make a significant comeback in Brazil. At around the same time, funds for emergency medical care in Brazil were being increased – partly in response to dengue outbreaks in the hotter summer months.
While the number of cases this year is high, it is actually less the the same period last year, which was 85,000 in Rio State according to a recent report, with fewer deaths as well.
Click here for a Dengue infection map of Rio provided by Brazilian publication O Globo (as of April 14, 2012; darker colors indicate more infections).
Read more (in Portuguese).
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