Small city in Brazil con­firms 1 death; other pos­si­ble cases in­ves­ti­gated

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Yesica Fisch

casimiro de abreu, brazil» This small city in the state of Rio de Janeiro is on high alert after au­thor­i­ties con­firmed the death of one man by yel­low fever and said they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing sev­eral other pos­si­ble cases.

Health au­thor­i­ties have con­firmed that 38-year-old Watila San­tos died of the ill­ness on March 11.

A neigh­bor of San­tos, Alessan­dro Va­lenca Couto, was in­fected and sent for treat­ment to a hospi­tal in the city of Rio de Janeiro, where he is re­cov­er­ing.

Au­thor­i­ties are in­ves­ti­gat­ing pos­si­ble cases in­volv­ing four rel­a­tives of San­tos, in­clud­ing a 13-yearold and a 9-year-old.

In the city cen­ter and ru­ral ar­eas of Casimiro de Abreu, about 93 miles from Rio de Janeiro, a large tent has been set up to vac­ci­nate peo­ple. Au­thor­i­ties es­ti­mate that about 30,000 of the city’s 42,000 peo­ple have been vac­ci­nated in re­cent days.

“I’m re­ally scared,” said Tais da Silva Almeida, a mother of two who ar­rived Fri­day to get vac­ci­nated. “If adults can’t deal with the ill­ness, imag­ine the chil­dren.”

Yel­low fever is trans­mit­ted by mos­qui­toes and causes fever, body aches, vom­it­ing and some­times jaun­dice. Rio de Janeiro’s state Health De­part­ment has an­nounced plans to vac­ci­nate its en­tire pop­u­la­tion as a pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sure.

It says it will need 12 mil­lion doses to reach a 90 per­cent vac­ci­na­tion rate by year’s end.

The vac­ci­na­tions come as cases con­tinue to be con­firmed in sev­eral ar­eas na­tion­wide. Brazil’s Health Min­istry says that at least 424 peo­ple have been in­fected with yel­low fever in the largest out­break the coun­try has seen in years.

Of those, 137 have died — and more than 900 other cases are un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The vast ma­jor­ity of con­firmed cases and deaths have been in the south­east­ern state of Mi­nas Gerais, which borders the state of Rio de Janeiro.

In Casimiro de Abreu, health work­ers vis­ited houses in ru­ral ar­eas and in­spected stag­nant wa­ter, where mos­qui­toes lay eggs. The state also sent ex­perts to nearby parks and re­serves with mon­key pop­u­la­tions to mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion with the pri­mates, which are a pri­mary reser­voir of yel­low fever.

Mean­while, in a group of houses near a lush jun­gle area just a few miles from down­town, rel­a­tives of San­tos are wait­ing for news about the four mem­bers of the fam­ily who may be in­fected.

Walace San­tos, the younger brother of the man who died, said he took so­lace in know­ing that the death raised alarm bells that could save oth­ers.

“Wher­ever he is now, he knows that be­cause he died a lot of lives were saved,” San­tos said.

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