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Rio declares dengue emergency in Brazil gears up for carnival

Rio de Janeiro is grappling with a public health emergency as cases of dengue fever soar, coinciding with the upcoming Carnival celebrations in Brazil. Mayor Eduardo Paes made the declaration in response to the escalating threat posed by the mosquito-borne disease, which can have severe health implications.

The surge in dengue cases has spurred immediate action, including the rollout of a nationwide vaccination campaign. Rio has already recorded over 11,200 cases this year, surpassing the total from the entire previous year. The alarming number of hospitalizations in January underscores the gravity of the situation.

To combat the outbreak, Rio intends to establish 10 care centers, while the Health Ministry has set up an emergency center. This move mirrors actions taken by two other states, Minas Gerais and the Federal District, which have also declared public health emergencies due to the escalating dengue infections.

Brazil is witnessing a significant uptick in dengue cases, with nearly 365,000 reported in the first five weeks of the year, a fourfold increase compared to the same period last year. The Health Ministry’s confirmation of 40 dengue-related deaths underscores the urgency of addressing the crisis.

In response, Brazil is intensifying efforts to combat the disease, with a particular focus on a mass vaccination campaign targeting children aged 10 to 14. The Qdenga vaccine, developed by Japanese drugmaker Takeda, has shown promising results in clinical trials, significantly reducing the risk of severe dengue.

The current dengue outbreak in Brazil is exacerbated by the El Niño phenomenon, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). This global surge in dengue cases underscores the imperative for concerted action to address mosquito-borne diseases, especially in the face of escalating climate change impacts.

As Brazil and other affected countries confront the challenge of dengue fever, proactive measures and vaccination drives are pivotal in containing its spread and safeguarding public health.

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