Carnival gets underway in Brazil amid yellow fever outbreak

Carnival gets underway in Brazil amid yellow fever outbreak

Brazil will kick off its annual week-long Carnival celebrations today, with Rio de Janeiro expecting to welcome millions of tourists. But foreign party-goers may be put off by a recent outbreak of yellow fever. Brazilian health authorities have confirmed more than 350 cases since last July, with at least 98 fatalities. Unusually, the outbreak has

Rio Yellow Fever

Photo: Cristina Indio do Brasil/Agência Brasil

Brazil will kick off its annual week-long Carnival celebrations today, with Rio de Janeiro expecting to welcome millions of tourists.

But foreign party-goers may be put off by a recent outbreak of yellow fever. Brazilian health authorities have confirmed more than 350 cases since last July, with at least 98 fatalities. Unusually, the outbreak has occurred in urban centres and areas previously untouched by the disease; Sao Paulo, the most populous city in the southern hemisphere, has experienced more than half of all confirmed cases.

Given last year’s similar outbreak, the worst in 50 years with 509 cases and 159 deaths, authorities launched a campaign to vaccinate Brazil’s population of 200 million against the mosquito-borne disease.

Already unlikely due to sheer logistics, Brazil’s plan to counter the outbreak may not even be enough. Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Suriname have also reported cases of yellow fever in the past two years. As such, failure to contain the outbreak could see Latin America facing an epidemic.

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