Thursday, January 17, 2008

Yellow Fever Strikes Brazil

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On January 15, 2008, the Brazilian Ministry of Health confirmed three more deaths from yellow fever (YF): two in Goias and one in Parana, bringing the total of confirmed cases of YF in 2008 to six, with five deaths. Their are still fifteen suspected cases under investigation. This is more than any year since 2003, when there were sixty four cases with twenty-three deaths.

One of the fatal cases was an unvaccinated Spanish visitor, who died after two days in a hospital in Goiania on January 12, having been ill for about ten days in the city where the vector mosquito was found. The area has been fogged with insecticide. The man contracted his infection at a farm in Cristianopolis, 103 km (64 mi) from Goiania, where he had spent fifteen days. In an earlier report, his widow complained to the press that they saw no YF warning or proof of vaccination check at Sao Paulo international airport on their arrival on Novemner 25, nor at Salvador or Goiania airports on their travels since.

The Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, which produces YF vaccine, has suspended all exports of the vaccine, and is doubling its production from 15 to 30 million doses this year (2008). It normally supplies 7 million doses to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) for distribution to other countries in the Americas.

On January 10, the US Department of State issued an alert, in English, to all its citizens in Brazil, advising them to get vaccinated. It is recommended that all international travelers receive the Yellow Fever vaccination prior to arrival in Brazil.

~Blog adapted from proMED