A dengue fever epidemic in Rio has left more than 10,000 people infected, with symptoms of severe pain, fever, headaches and nausea, and in its most extreme form, causing internal hemorrhaging, has claimed 11 lives this year.
Last week one thousand troops were deployed, along with 2,000 volunteers, in a citywide effort to stamp out the Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries the disease.
The mosquitoes can lay their eggs in almost any body of standing water, even small accumulations in old tires and in the leaves of bromeliad plants.
Epidemiologists estimate the total number of infected people, including those who do not seek medical treatment, could reach 100,000 in the next two months.
In 2001, eight people died of dengue in Rio de Janeiro state. The worst dengue epidemic in the state occurred in 1991, when 24 people died.
The current situation is not exclusive to Rio de Janeiro. Dengue has been declared an epidemic in the city of Campo Grande, near the border with Bolivia – where 6,699 cases were reported – as well as in Recife, Goiania and Cuiaba.
Meanwhile last week São Paulo confirmed its first dengue hemorrhagic fever death in 16 years. The victim, a 32-year-old woman, contracted the disease while she was visiting Rio in January,
The city of São Paulo has currently reported six cases of native” dengue, but not hemorrhagic fever, and another 184 people who have arrived here sick from other areas of the country.
One proven method to combat dengue is to spread coffee dregs on plants and other areas where water can accumulate.”