On Thursday, the Brazil Ministry of Health launched the national campaign to combat the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits diseases such as dengue, Zika and chikungunya.
With the theme “Every day is the day to fight the mosquito”, the mobilization aims to make the Brazilian population aware of the dangers of the insect and the importance of combating mosquito breeding sites. The campaign will be broadcast on television, radio, internet and outdoor media.
“The dengue epidemic has existed for more than 30 years. Since then, we have not been able to eradicate this problem among us. This means that it is not a simple activity. We do not have vaccines for arboviruses, nor specific treatments, so the main weapon we have is to fight the mosquito. If there is no cooperation from society, every year we will have cases of all these arboviruses”, reinforced the Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, during the launch of the campaign this Thursday.
In 2022, until mid-October, there was an increase of 184.6% in the number of probable cases of dengue compared to the same period in 2021. The occurrences increased from 478,500 cases last year to 1.3 million in this year. There were 909 confirmed deaths in 2022.
“Some factors may have contributed to this increase in cases in 2022. Favorable environmental conditions, the accumulation of water, high temperatures, inadequate housing, a large number of people susceptible to the disease and the change in circulation of the circulating serotype obviously also interfere with the transmissibility of arboviruses as a whole”, stated the secretary of Health Surveillance, Arnaldo Medeiros.
As for chikungunya, until mid-October, 168,900 cases of the disease were reported, with an incidence rate of 79.2 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the country. When compared to the same period in 2021, there was an increase of 86.9% in cases. In 2022, there were 76 confirmed deaths.
Regarding Zika data, until mid-September 2022, 10,500 cases of the disease were reported, with an incidence rate of 4.9 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the country. There was a 92.6% increase when compared to the same period in 2021. There were no deaths from Zika in 2022.
The Ministry of Health has invested in actions to combat the mosquito on a permanent basis. Even in the face of the current scenario of an increase in the number of arbovirus cases, officials have been working on actions to respond to the 2021/2022 epidemic period and also preparatory actions for the 2022/2023 seasonal period. To this end, the Ministry periodically holds meetings with states to guide activities, assess local scenarios and adapt strategies to combat the mosquito according to the reality of each region. In addition, it regularly sends insecticides and larvicides to states and municipalities to combat Aedes aegypti.
Officials have also invested in strengthening entomology, in research, new technologies and innovations for surveillance and control of arboviruses. The Arbovirus Surveillance Strengthening Project in Brazil was recently launched, with the hiring of 27 employees to work in the 27 Federative Units. Annually, the communication campaign on dengue, chikungunya and Zika is also carried out, with the objective of guiding the population, managers and health professionals to prevent diseases.
Prevention is the best way to fight the disease. Avoiding standing water, emptying bottles, not storing tires in uncovered areas, not accumulating water on slabs or gutters, putting sand in plant pots and covering wells and water tanks are some basic initiatives to prevent the proliferation of the vector. Any stagnant water must be eliminated, as this is where the transmitting mosquito lays its eggs.