Brazil’s Ministry of Health launched a new campaign against dengue and announced that ads will be appearing in newspapers, magazines and on TV and radio.
The motto of this year’s campaign is “Don’t let dengue ruin your summer.”
Dengue is a worldwide public health problem.
According to the World Health Organization, between 50 and 100 million people get the disease annually in 100 countries.
That results in 550,000 hospitalizations and around 20,000 deaths.
Jarbas Barbosa, at the ministry, reports that in Brazil the disease is under control with the number of cases dropping from year to year.
In 2003 the number of cases fell 91%, compared to 2002. This year cases are down 73%, compared to to 2003.
The problem, says Barbosa, is that prevention has to be constant. “Every summer is dengue mosquito season and we have to be ready,” he declared.
The Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which transmits dengue, thrives in urban environments where there is sitting water – something that is not very hard to find.
One year ago, data from the Ministry of Health indicated a 61.9% drop in the cases of dengue fever in Brazi. At that time, the Ministry warned that measures against the mosquito that transmits the disease should continue, because the breeding grounds had still not been controlled.
“These positive numbers indicate that Brazil is on the right path, but is absolutely necessary that social mobilization and the work of Muncipal Health Departments be maintained for the country to continue to reduce the incidence of the disease in a sustainable manner,” a note from the Ministry affirmed.
Measures such as certifying that water tanks are adequately sealed, placing sand in pans underneath planters, tightly fastening plastic bags used for trash and keeping garbage cans covered, removing standing water from roof slabs and gutters, and discarding piles of backyard rubble should continue to be followed.
Despite the decline in the cases of dengue, the numbers on the disease remain frightening. Around 300 thousand people have been infected last year alone. The Minister registered 616 cases of hemorrhagic dengue fever, with 42 deaths.
Translator: Allen Bennett