Brazilians Spraying and Praying for Dengue Vaccine Breakthrough

Bloomberg, By Mac Margolis, April 24

A cup of cloves, a half-liter of alcohol and a dollop of body oil: You won’t find this homemade mosquito repellent in Brazilian drugstores, but the recipe went viral after a worried sanitarian posted a cell phone video on Facebook last week.

Amid one of their worst outbreaks of dengue fever — 460,000 people infected and 132 dead this year — Brazilians are understandably jumpy. That humming sound is aedes aegypti, a familiar pest storied for spreading yellow fever throughout tropical America and now enjoying a comeback as the vector for what has become a 21st-century pandemic.

Once a mostly Asian affliction, the dengue virus has gone global because of breakneck urbanization, bad management of water, haphazard public health care and travel on jets that can take passengers anywhere overnight. A 2013 study in Nature reckoned that dengue had infected 390 million people that year, with 94 million falling ill.

The outbreak is especially severe in the Americas, which have seen a 30-fold increase in the disease over the past 50 years. Counting hospitalization and sick leave, the disease costs the region at least $2.1 billion a year, says the Pan American Health Organization.

Brazil, alone, accounts for six of every 10 reported cases of illness from dengue worldwide.

After Record Drought, Dengue Fever Is Now Sweeping Across Sao Paulo

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  • Brazil: Health minister confirms dengue outbreak an ‘epidemic’

    IBT, By Adam Justice, May 15

    Brazil’s Health Minister Arthur Chioro on Thursday (May 14) said the country was “technically” facing a dengue fever epidemic.

    The country of more than 200m people had registered 745,957 cases of the mosquito-borne virus from 1 January through 18 April, the latest time period for which numbers have been made available.

    The figure amounts to 367.8 cases per 100,000 residents, surpassing the World Health Organization’s definition for an epidemic of 300 cases per 100,000.

    The growing dengue crisis in Brazil has for months been popularly termed an “epidemic” in the media.

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