Brazil: Mosquito-borne disease increases in 2022 prompts national campaign to combat the Aedes aegypti

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On Thursday, the Brazilian Ministry of Health launched the national campaign to combat the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits diseases such as dengue fever, Zika and chikungunya.

Aedes aegypti / CDC

With the theme “Everyday is Mosquito Control Day”, the mobilization aims to educate the population of Brazil about the dangers of the insect and the importance of combating mosquito breeding sites. The campaign will be broadcast on television, radio, internet and external media.

Dengue fever has been around for more than 30 years. Since then, we have not been able to eliminate this problem between us. This means that it is not a simple activity. We don’t have virus vaccines, nor specific treatments, so the main weapon we have is fighting mosquitoes. Health Minister Marcelo Quiroga emphasized, during the campaign launch Thursday, that if there was no cooperation from the community, every year we would have cases of all these arboviruses transmitted by arthropods.

In 2022 through mid-October, there was a 184.6% increase in the number of probable dengue cases compared to the same period in 2021. Cases increased from 478,500 cases last year to 1.3 million this year. There were 909 confirmed deaths in 2022.

“Some factors may have contributed to this increase in cases in 2022. It is also clear that favorable environmental conditions, water accumulation, high temperatures, inadequate housing, a large number of people susceptible to the disease, and a change in the circulation of the disseminated serotype It also interferes. With the transmission of arboviruses as a whole”, stated the Minister of Health Surveillance, Arnaldo Medeiros.

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As for chikungunya, 168,900 cases of the disease were reported as of mid-October, with an incidence rate of 79.2 cases per 100,000 residents in the country. Compared to the same period in 2021, there was an 86.9% increase in cases. In 2022, there were 76 confirmed deaths.

Regarding Zika data, as of mid-September 2022, 10,500 cases of the disease were reported, with an infection rate of 4.9 cases per 100,000 residents in the country. There was a 92.6% increase compared to the same period in 2021. There were no Zika deaths in 2022.

The Ministry of Health has invested in mosquito control measures on a permanent basis. Even in the face of the current scenario of an increase in the number of arbovirus cases, officials are working on measures to respond to the 2021/2022 pandemic period as well as preparatory measures for the 2022/2023 seasonal period. To this end, the Ministry holds periodic meetings with countries to guide activities, evaluate local scenarios and adapt mosquito control strategies according to the realities 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 to monitor and control arthropod-borne viruses. The Arbovirus Surveillance Enhancement Project in Brazil was recently launched, with 27 employees being hired to work in 27 federal units. The information campaign on dengue fever, chikungunya and Zika virus is carried out annually, with the aim of instructing residents, administrators and health professionals to prevent disease.

Prevention is the best way to combat disease. Avoiding standing water, emptying bottles, not storing tires in open areas, not accumulating water on baseboards or gutters, placing sand in plant pots and capping wells and water tanks are some of the essential initiatives to prevent the spread of disease vectors. Any standing water should be discarded, as the vector mosquito lays its eggs here.

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