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General Health : Government Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

U.S. warns of dengue fever in Rio de Janeiro
By Sue Mueller
Apr 5, 2008 - 2:08:08 PM

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SATURDAY April 5, 2008 ( - U.S. consulate Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on March 27 issued on Consular Affairs bulletins a Warden Message to alert American Citizens living or traveling in Brazil to the increase of dengue fever cases in the State of Rio de Janeiro. Dengue fever is commonly found in Brazil and other tropical countries.

The State Secretariat of Health in Rio de Janeiro reported there had been 28,233 reported cases of Dengue Fever in 2008 including 54 confirmed deaths and an additional 60 deaths subject to investigations.  These numbers would rival the last significant outbreak in 2002 when 288,245 cases of Dengue were reported including 91 deaths.

The number of dengue fever cases now is much bigger, at least 55,000 people in Brazil this year, according to CNN, which also reported that Brazil soldiers and firefighters had already been engaged in the fight against the disease.  Earlier, Brazil said it would mobilize its troops to help fight the dengue fever outbreak.  And one thing the military could do was set up field hospitals to treat patients that overwhelmed the local hospitals leaving many patients untreated.

CNN cited the State's Ministry of Health as reporting that the disease caused 67 deaths this year in Rio de Janeiro and 58 other deaths were still under investigation.  Among the dead, 21 died from the more severe form of dengue known as dengue hemorrhagic fever or DHF.
The U.S. consulate released the following about dengue fever.

Dengue fever is caused by a virus, which is transmitted by a mosquito (AEDES AEGYPTI). This mosquito is dark, with white stripes on its back and legs, and smaller than a common mosquito. These mosquitoes breed in clean, stagnant water. The mosquito is considered a “day” mosquito. It bites during the day and likes warm, humid places.

Signs and Symptoms of Dengue Fever

After the infecting bite, dengue symptoms develop within 3 to 14 days (on average, 4 to 7 days). Victims typically experience a sudden high fever, headache, generalized weakness, and intense muscle, joint, and low back pain (hence the term, "break bone fever"). A subtle rash appears in up to half the people affected, although some have a bright red rash with scattered clear spots. Treatment is purely symptomatic. Dengue is usually self-limited, with an average duration of 6 days. Most persons with dengue do not need to be hospitalized, but those with persistent fever should seek medical attention as soon as possible

Hemorrhagic Dengue Fever (DHF): and dengue shock syndrome (DSS) are rare but severe forms of dengue that may occur in people who previously have been infected with one strain of dengue virus and are later infected by a different strain (there are 4 strains). DHF and DSS begin like classic dengue but progress to abdominal pain and vomiting. The most severe cases, if left untreated, can progress to bleeding at sites of minimal trauma, circulatory failure, shock, and death. DHF and DSS ordinarily affect only people who live in endemic areas, but there have been rare cases reported in travelers. Because of this, travelers who previously have had an episode of dengue fever and who will be re-entering a dengue-endemic area should be aware of the increased possibility of acquiring these severe forms of dengue and should seek medical attention as soon as symptoms appear. Travelers with persistent fever should be seen by a healthcare professional. Severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, an abrupt change from fever to hypothermia with profuse sweating, extreme exhaustion, lethargy, or mental status changes signal the development of shock and require immediate intensive care level medical attention.

How can you prevent the disease?

There is no vaccine for Dengue. Prevention is based upon taking careful measures to reduce the possibility of mosquito bites. Travelers are strongly encouraged to wear light clothing which completely covers arms and legs, and to apply an effective insect repellant, such as those containing DEET, to exposed areas of skin. The control of Dengue epidemics is based upon reduction of the mosquito population. Dengue may be more likely to occur in urban setting due to drainage issues. Eliminating standing water in your home and environment including flower pots, tires, puddles, non-chlorinated pools, etc., and screening windows, and wearing insect repellent are strongly recommended.

For further information on Dengue Fever, see the Centers for Disease Control’s website at:

If you need assistance, please contact the Consular Section of the Consulate in Rio de Janeiro at Avenida Presidente Wilson 147, Rio de Janeiro, telephone 21-3823-2000, after-hours telephone 21-3823-2029. 

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site at  where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. American citizens traveling or residing overseas are encouraged to register with the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the State Department’s travel registration website at .

© 2004-2008 by unless otherwise specified

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