Understand why dengue fever has returned to high rates in America and the country

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Experts consulted by LIBERAL explain why this new outbreak scenario and what can be done

Author: Ana Carolina Leal

April 24, 2022 at 8:26 am • Last updated April 8, 2022, 8:29 AM


Larvae of the mosquito Aedes aegypti, which causes dengue fever; nesting sites are the biggest risk to cities – Photo: Tânia Rêgo – Agência Brasil

In Brazil, 393,900 probable cases of dengue fever and 112 deaths from the disease have been reported since January. Figures available in the latest epidemiological bulletin from the Ministry of Health on 18 April show that the number of infections caused by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito has increased by 95.2% compared to the same period last year.

In Americana, from January to last Wednesday, the municipality confirmed 982 cases of dengue fever and 92 were still awaiting test results. Three deaths were also recorded during the period and four more suspicious deaths were awaiting results. Throughout last year, 283 viral infections were detected.

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But what is behind this scenario? And what can be done to combat it? Experts consulted by LIBERAL explain why Brazil and Americana have lived with this new dengue epidemic.

Andréa Sobral, a researcher at Fiocruz National School of Public Health, says the increase in dengue cases this year could be linked to a reduction in prevention measures and measures, such as the removal of Aedes aegypti mosquito nests to control the disease. , During the Covid-19 pandemic combined with favorable weather conditions such as heavy and prolonged rainfall and heat.

“Dengue surveillance systems have deteriorated greatly as a result of the pandemic of the past two years,” he stresses. Another important aspect, according to the researcher, refers to the vulnerability of housing in cities, especially in poor areas.

“We need to invest in infrastructure, basic hygiene, to ensure that the majority of the population has adequate water supply, regular garbage collection, rainwater drainage and sanitation,” he says.

In the Americas region, dengue fever is most prevalent in the districts of Antônio Zanaga, Vila Bertini and Vila Belvedere. To curb the spread of the disease in the city, the Ministry of Health set up a task force that visits an average of 1,200 properties a day. The goal is to control the population and remove nesting sites for the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

“The logic is to reduce epidemics, reduce the number of cases, and strengthen public health services so that we can receive patients with dengue complications,” Andréa says.

ENDEMIC. According to Rubem Borges Fialho Junior, a specialist in public health, a specialist in prevention and social medicine, and a professor at the Faculty of Medicine at PUC-Campinas, dengue fever has become endemic, meaning it maintains a significant case pattern but below a figure. It can be considered an epidemic, at least for now.

And the role of the population in preventing the epidemic again is very important, says the doctor. “I believe that the way to cope should be new ways of health education and clarity about this disease.”

According to the expert, in general, working with children in schools is always affected. “The removal of breeding sites for the Aedes aegypti mosquito is crucial to prevent the reproduction of cases,” he stresses.

take action against mosquitoes

  • According to Rubem Borges Fialho Junior, a health doctor, the change in habits and the introduction of measures available to the population must be constantly initiated.
  • Among them, emphasizes the expert, allow the community health or environmental authorities to provide the necessary guidance and assessments in real estate. “Usually, a large portion of the property is closed or not open during the health visit,” he says.
  • It is also necessary to keep the land free of rubble, cover the water collecting containers, water collecting gutters, leave the bottles “mouth” down, have a sieve or close them, clean the animal water containers and change the water daily and fill the vegetable containers with sand. “Everything is within reach of the population,” says the doctor.

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dengue symptoms

Symptoms include fever, general exhaustion, loss of appetite, muscle and joint pain, back pain, fatigue, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.

The battle of mosquitoes

Aedes aegypti is a domestic mosquito. It lives indoors and close to people. According to daily habits, the mosquito (female only) basically feeds human blood, mainly at dawn and dusk to reproduce. Reproduction takes place in clean or dirty stagnant water, which is laid by females. The eggs are placed in water and divided into several breeding sites.

Some measures will help prevent the spread of mosquitoes:

  • Cover the pools and water tank
  • Keep gutters clean
  • Always leave the bottles upside down
  • Keep bins well covered.
  • Leave the drains clean and apply to the screen surface
  • Clean weekly or fill pots with sand
  • Clean pet water containers with a brush or sponge
  • Remove any water that has accumulated in the service area behind the washing machine

Source: Ministry of Health

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