An outbreak of yellow fever has stricken the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, and the governor declared a state of emergency on Friday in response. At least 10 people have died so far, and there are over 100 suspected cases in the process of being examined.
All reported cases thus far are sylvatic, meaning that they are associated with mosquitoes living in the wild in areas with infected monkeys. The uptick in infections is concerning, however, because if the infection reaches a city full of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, it can quickly spread and outpace the capabilities of local public health teams. The declaration of a state of emergency allows the government to more quickly allocate responses to disease control and surveillance.
Vaccination efforts have ramped up in Minas Gerais in response. The Brazilian Ministry of Health has provided over 700,000 doses of vaccine, and residents have been lining up to receive them. Doctors have raised concerns, however, because sylvatic yellow fever is common in this area, and the number of unvaccinated individuals indicates a failure of preventive healthcare there.
Yellow fever is a member of the Flaviviridae family. It is transmitted by mosquitoes and causes a hemorrhagic fever. Symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, and muscle pain. It can be fatal in a small portion of cases.
by Julia Daniel