Olympic and Paralympic hosts Rio de Janeiro is attempting to tackle an explosion in dengue fever cases by trying to wipe out mosquitoes who carry the tropical disease with a series of measures.
Workers have been begun a process of trying to clear up areas of stagnant water, where mosquitoes breed, while also trying to raise awareness among the public to encourage them to do the same in and around their homes.
It is believed that the an increase in the number of mosquitoes and cases is down to the city’s residents opting to store containers of water throughout a drought last year, giving the insects more opportunities to breed.
Last month Superintendent of Epidemiological Surveillance of the State Department of Health reported that 62,507 cases of the disease had been reported since the start of 2015.
Only 7,819 suspected cases had been reported in 2014.
Authorities have advised that the public to invest 10 minutes a week to eliminate possible breeding sites in their homes, to reduce breeding grounds of the mosquito, which also transmits the Chikungunya and Zika viruses.
Clearing gutters of standing water, sealing rubbish bags and putting sand in the saucers of potted plants are among the suggestions to reduce mosquitoes laying eggs in or near homes.
Dengue fever suffers experience flu-like symptoms with the disease potentially proving fatal.
Around 20 people are believed to have died during 2015 in Rio de Janeiro State.
A health sector state of emergency was declared last week after the State ran out of funds to maintain the operation of its public health system, with several hospitals and outpatient facilities being forced to close.
Rio de Janeiro State is set to receive R$297 million (£51 million/$75 million/€69 million), including funding from the Federal Government.
Around R$100 million (£17 million/$25 million/€23 million) is in the form of a loan by the Rio City Government, to bring the State health system back to a functioning level.
The situation is a big worry as huge numbers will descend on the city for the Olympics and Paralympics.
Approval of a dengue vaccine has also been granted by Brazil’s food and drug administration, Anvisa, to help tackle the outbreak further.
It makes them the third nation after Mexico and the Philippines to approve the vaccine.
New Delhi were forced to tackle a dengue outbreak before the 2010 Commonwealth Games following a monsoon.
Officials supervising the construction of the Commonwealth Games Village were fined a year prior to the competition for letting water stagnate at its building site, increasing the prospect of mosquitoes breeding.
- By Michael Pavitt
- this article was republished with permission from the original publisher Inside the Games www.insidethegames.biz