There is a widespread risk of contracting various mosquito-borne diseases in Brazil, including dengue fever, the Zika virus, and chikungunya. According to the most recent statistics released by the Brazilian Ministry of Health, in the first 38 weeks of 2018 (period ending September 22), a total of 207,473 confirmed or likely cases of dengue fever were reported nationwide, including 120 fatalities. The highest case numbers have been reported in the Center-West, Southeast, and Northwest regions (i.e. states of Goiás, Minas Gerais, and Rio Grande do Norte). During the same period, 76,711 confirmed or suspected cases of chikungunya were reported, including 28 confirmed deaths and 46 deaths likely attributed to the disease. The Southeast and Center-West regions have been the worst hit (i.e. states of Rio de Janiero, Minas Gerais, and Mato Grosso). Finally, a total of 7427 cases of the Zika virus were also reported, with the highest case numbers reported in the Southeast, Center-West, and Northeast regions (i.e. state of Rio de Janiero).
Symptoms of dengue fever include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, nausea, and rashes. Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) is a potentially deadly complication that is characterized by high fever, the enlargement of the liver, and hemorrhaging.
Symptoms of chikungunya are similar; the virus is infrequently fatal but potentially debilitating joint pain can last for weeks, even months, after the initial recovery.
Symptoms of Zika - fever, headache (behind the eyes), conjunctivitis, rash, vomiting, and muscle and joint pain - can appear two to seven days following contraction of the disease, although the virus is asymptomatic in approximately 80 percent of cases. Transmission of the virus is also possible via sexual intercourse. Although the Zika virus is usually relatively benign, links between it and severe birth defects as well as the potentially fatal neurological disorder Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) have been established.
Individuals present in Brazil - in particular pregnant women and their partners - are advised to take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites (e.g. by wearing covering clothing, using insect repellent, and sleeping in screened-in or air conditioned rooms) and to eliminate possible mosquito breeding grounds (small pockets of fresh water, such as rain water that has collected in cans, bottles, tires, flower pots, clogged gutters, etc.).
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