Rio de Janeiro is potentially exposed to one of the worst dengue fever epidemics in recent history, Brazil’s Health Minister Alexandre Padilha said yesterday.
As Brazil prepares for its annual carnival celebrations, Padilha gave a stark warning, expressing his concerns for the state of health in the city. “I consider Rio de Janeiro runs the risk of one of the worst dengue epidemics, in terms of the number of cases, in its history.”
Despite the worrying nature of the news, especially due to the number of tourists that have descended on the city for the festivities, the minister went on to say that this strain of the virus was not the deadliest.
“This is not the most serious case of dengue, it does not represent a higher chance of people dying but since so few have experienced it before in Brazil, a far greater number are susceptible of catching it.”
In December, Rio de Janeiro’s mayor Eduardo Paes considered the city to be at a “high risk of an epidemic.”
According to government statistics, there has been a 62% drop in reported cases of the fever throughout the country compared to this time last year (40,486 down from 106,373); however, Padilha reiterated that city was still facing problems. “Rio de Janeiro is the city which most concerns the Ministry of Health.”
In the city there have been 3,499 reported cases in 2012, up from 2,322 this time last year.