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WorldAware Medical Alert: Brazil - Dengue Fever Alert in Parts of Brazil
Health officials issued a high alert for dengue fever outbreaks in three cities set to host World Cup events next month. Based on a health analysis, northeastern venues Fortaleza, Recife and Natal are all expected to experience an outbreak just before the international sports tournament. Mosquitos carrying infection are much more active after the rainy season as water becomes stagnant. Following the rainy season, which is usually from March-May, mosquitoes use stagnant water puddles as breeding grounds to reproduce, setting the stage for what environmentalists say will be a very busy summer for mosquito activity. The World Cup is set to begin June 12. The dengue fever infection rate is already alarmingly high in Brazil and is expected to increase during the World Cup due to the large mosquito presence there and the significant population increase as hundreds of thousands of FIFA fans are expected to attend games. There were over seven million infections recorded in the last 13 years. Authorities are bracing for the possible outbreak by making arrangements to provide warnings ahead of the World Cup with hopes to have enough time to combat mosquito-prone cities in more populous areas. Scientists are also concerned that visitors to Brazil run the risk of transmitting the virus back to their home country.
Mosquitos typically bite during early mornings or late afternoons. The traveler is encouraged to reduce the need to be outside during these periods and wear insect repellent while outside. Because there is no vaccine against dengue fever, prevention is the most important step in avoiding infection. The best way to reduce exposure to mosquitos is by avoiding areas where they lay their eggs such as artificial containers, flower planters, vases and other reservoirs that hold water around the house. For further protection while at home or in a hotel, travelers are advised to sleep underneath a mosquito bed net. Travelers are also encouraged to avoid lakes, ponds and puddles of water. Travelers visiting Brazil are advised to minimize the use of house lights as they commonly attract mosquitos. When possible, and if weather permits, travelers are encouraged to wear long sleeves for additional protection.