Brazil has called up the Army, bot not for your typical war, its a war on the mosquito borne virus, dengue fever, which has seen a 240 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

Aedes aegypti/CDC
Aedes aegypti/CDC

Officials in the country’s largest city of  Sao Paulo requested that the army help in the battle against dengue where a surge of cases has brought the city tally at 32,000 and the state total is about half the country’s total.

In addition, 132 dengue related fatalities have been reported in the first quarter.

What would the army be doing? A La Prensa report Friday states:

Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad told a press conference he will ask for at least 50 soldiers to accompany municipal health officials in house-to-house inspections aimed at eradicating breeding areas for the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits the disease.

People trust the military and will be more likely to cooperate with inspections if soldiers are present, Haddad said.

Dengue is not a new problem in Brazil. In 2014, the South American country saw about 600,000 cases, while in 2013, nearly 1.5 million cases were reported.

A drought earlier in the year has been pointed to as a contributing factor for the surge in dengue this year.


The big increase in dengue is also putting a strain of the health care system. The Wall Street Journal reports: Hospitals have been so overwhelmed with cases that the city has set up “dengue tents” to treat patients in high-risk areas.

In a related and follow-up story from Brazil, Corinthians striker Paolo Guerrero has been released from a Brazilian hospital after a six day hospitalization for dengue treatment. The Associated Press reports that Guerrero was one of the three players from first-division clubs diagnosed with the mosquito-borne disease this week.

According to the World Health Organization, dengue is transmitted by the bite of a mosquito infected with one of the four dengue virus serotypes. It is a febrile illness that affectsinfants, young children and adults withsymptomsappearing 3-14 days after the infective bite. As many as 400 million people areinfectedyearly.

Dengue is not transmitted directly from person-to-person and symptoms range from mild fever, to incapacitating high fever, with severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, and rash. There is no vaccine or any specific medicine to treat dengue. People who have dengue fever should rest, drinkplenty of fluids and reduce the fever using paracetamol or see a doctor.

Severe dengue (also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever) is characterized by fever, abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding and breathing difficulty and is a potentially lethal complication, affecting mainly children. Early clinical diagnosis and careful clinical management by trained physicians and nurses increase survival of patients.

Related: Philippines and Malaysia dengue updates 

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