By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The alarming rate of dengue fever reports in Brazil has led the São Paulo city government to ask for the aid of the country’s Armed Forces to help locate dengue-carrying mosquito breeding grounds in Latin America’s largest city.
The more than 224,000 reported cases across the country has also led the United State’s CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) to issue a warning this week to U.S. travelers visiting Brazil to take precautions against dengue fever.
“Travelers to Brazil should protect themselves against mosquito bites to avoid getting dengue,” stated the warning put up this week at the CDC’s website, noting that Acre, São Paulo and Goias are the states with the most number of cases reported. Visitors are advised to use insect repellents and cover exposed skin.
In the city of São Paulo in the first three months of the year more than 30,000 have been diagnosed with dengue, three times the number registered during the same period last year. Due to the overwhelming number, São Paulo mayor, Fernando Haddad, asked the Armed Forces for help.
According to Haddad the soldiers will accompany health officials door-to-door, looking for places where the mosquitoes may breed. The São Paulo Health Department said approximately twenty percent of homeowners have been afraid of letting health workers to inspect their houses and yards, and have not allowed them inside.
“If the (health) team is accompanied by an Armed Forces soldier the homeowner feels safer to open up their doors and let them in,” said Haddad in a recent interview.
Due to the emergency, six outdoor tents have been set up throughout the city to diagnose and start preliminary care of those infected with dengue.
There is no vaccine for dengue and the treatment consists of constant hydration and bed rest while the disease runs its course.