Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Yellow fever outbreak leaves 137 dead

Published:Sunday | March 19, 2017 | 3:00 AM

CASIMIRO DE ABREU (AP):

A small city in the state of Rio de Janeiro is on high alert after authorities confirmed the death of one man by yellow fever and are investigating several other possible cases.

Health authorities last week confirmed that 38-year-old Watila Santos died from the illness on March 11.

A neighbour of Santos, Alessandro Valenca Couto, was infected and sent for treatment to a hospital in the city of Rio de Janeiro, where he is recovering.

Authorities are investigating possible cases involving four relatives of Santos, including a 13-year-old and a nine-year-old.

In the city centre and rural areas of Casimiro de Abreu, about 93 miles (150 kilometres) from Rio de Janeiro, a large tent has been set up to vaccinate people. Authorities say around 30,000 of the city's 42,000 people have been vaccinated in recent days.

Yellow fever is transmitted by mosquito and causes fever, body aches, vomiting and sometimes jaundice.

Rio de Janeiro's state Health Department has announced plans to vaccinate its entire population as a preventative measure. It says it will need 12 million doses to reach a 90 per cent vaccination rate by year's end.

The vaccinations come as cases continue to be confirmed in several areas nationwide.

Brazil's Health Ministry says that at least 424 people have been infected with yellow fever in the largest outbreak the country has seen in years. Of those, 137 have died, and more than 900 other cases are under investigation.