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Last Updated: Friday, 11 January 2008, 21:46 GMT
Yellow fever alert alarms Brazil
By Gary Duffy
BBC News, Sao Paulo

Mosquito
Mosquitoes spread yellow fever
The Brazilian government has confirmed that a man who died in hospital in the capital, Brasilia, was suffering from yellow fever.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been queuing for vaccinations for the disease in parts of Brazil, after 12 suspected cases in recent weeks.

Eight of those cases, three of them fatal, are still being investigated.

Yellow fever is transmitted by infected mosquitoes and is generally confined to rural or jungle areas of Brazil.

In the last 12 years, the country has reported 349 cases of the disease, with 161 deaths.

Brazil has not had a case of urban yellow fever since 1942 but now this man has died in hospital in the capital with the disease.

However, the latest victim spent the New Year's holiday in a rural area in the neighbouring state of Goias and the authorities are working on the belief he was infected outside the city.

Monkey scare

Since the recent alert, more than 560,000 people have been vaccinated against yellow fever and the government says there is no risk of an epidemic.

Public concern was initially raised when two monkeys were found dead in a public park in Brasilia, but tests on one of the animals have shown it did not have the disease.

During this busy holiday period in Brazil the government is issuing reminders to tourists, both from home and abroad, to check on the need for vaccinations, depending on their travel plans.

The authorities here are currently dealing with another public health concern, with a sharp rise in cases of dengue fever, which is also spread by mosquitoes.

In the first seven months of 2007, more than 438,000 cases of dengue fever were reported in Brazil, with 98 deaths.

There is no vaccination for dengue and health officials have to rely instead on encouraging the public to avoid a build-up of pools of water in outside areas, which encourages mosquitoes to breed.

SEE ALSO
African yellow fever targeted
16 May 07 |  Africa

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