By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The federal government of Brazil has issued emergency situations for 63 cities in Minas Gerais and one in Espirito Santo due to the outbreak of yellow fever. Since the beginning of the year authorities have confirmed 44 people died of the disease and over seventy other suspected deaths are being investigated.
Federal officials are sending extra doses of yellow fever vaccines to the affected area in fear that the virus may spread during the great flux of tourists coming into the affected areas due to the Carnival festivities.
“(States of) Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo and São Paulo confirmed cases of the disease. In total, 12.8 million extra doses were sent to states with case records, in addition to others located in the neighboring areas that have reported cases,” said the note released by the Ministry on Monday.
Earlier this month, Minas Gerais governor Fernando Pimentel had declared a public health emergency in 152 municipalities in the state.
Last week, the federal government authorized disbursements of R$13.8 million to intensify vaccination efforts against yellow fever in the states of Bahia, Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
According to Brazil’s Ministry of National Integration, among the criteria for recognizing the emergency situation is the difficulty in controlling the disease, the existence of considerable human deaths.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) warned American citizens to take extra precautions if traveling to the affected areas.
“Because of the ongoing outbreak, travelers to the Brazilian states of Minas Gerais, Espirito Santo, and parts of Bahia, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro states may consider getting a booster if their last yellow fever vaccination was more than ten years ago” said the CDC alert issued by the health entity.