By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In one of his first statements as Rio de Janeiro’s new health secretary, Carlos Eduardo stated that during this summer half of the city’s residents may be infected with Chikungunya, a disease transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
Amilcar Tanuri, professor at Rio’s Federal University (UFRJ) and coordinator of the Zika Network among the three viruses spread by the mosquito, the Chikungunya is the most worrisome.
“Since the virus has already been found in a very large region [of the city], we may see a surge cases may occur this summer,” Tanuri said in a TV interview this week.
According to officials, in 2016, the city of Rio de Janeiro registered more than 25,500 cases of dengue fever, 31,900 cases of Zika and 13,982 cases of Chikungunya. Residents of Zona Oeste (West Zone) of the city were the most affected by the mosquito.
Tanuri says that although Chikungunya has many similar symptoms to dengue, the Chikungunya could continue to affect the infected person for up to eight months.
“In the elderly or persons with other diseases, such as diabetes and kidney disease, the virus may progress very rapidly and even lead to death,” warns professor Tanure. The main symptoms for Chikungunya are fever, cracks in the skin, joint pains.
Although no extra measures to combat the mosquito have been announced by city officials, Carlos Eduardo stated that the elimination of the Aedes aegypti is a top priority in his department.
On Wednesday, January 4th, Carlos Eduardo along with newly elected mayor, Marcelo Crivella, visited homes in one of Latin America’s largest favelas, Rocinha, joining health agents to show residents how the combat to mosquito transmitting dengue, zika and chikungunya should be conducted.