Health experts in the US are concerned about a new outbreak of yellow fever in Brazil. They worry about the possibility of the virus spreading to the country. This information was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The statement was made by two doctors from the National Institute of Health. They said that yellow fever cases have been unusually increasing in the last weeks, mainly in Brazil’s rural areas, seeming to be expanding to more cities.

These mosquitoes are day-feeders, associate, closely to humans, rather than being restricted to wetlands, and are vectors of many diseases besides Zika, such as yellow fever, dengue fever, chikungunya, and filariasis. Image Credit: ABC News

The virus has been affecting the people from jungle and forest areas since December 2016. Mosquitoes are infecting both individuals and animals like monkeys, according to the statement.

Confirmed infections are located in the states of Espírito Santo, Sao Paulo, and Minas Gerais. According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), there are at least 326 confirmed cases, 916 suspected cases, and 220 deaths.

Fears of Zika-Like Epidemic

This outbreak is bringing back the fear experienced among experts in 2015 when the Zika virus emerged in Brazil and reached more than 60 countries, causing outbreaks in Florida.

There is no evidence about a human-to-human transmission of the disease. According to the statement, the outbreak seems to be affecting areas close to Brazilian urban centers where the vaccine for the yellow fever had not been given.

“In an era of frequent international travel, any marked increase in domestic cases in Brazil raises the possibility of travel-related cases and local transmission in regions where yellow fever is not endemic.” Doctors said in their essay.

In December 2015, a yellow fever outbreak occurred in Angola and spread to the Democratic Republic of Congo. In that opportunity, the disease caused 137 deaths and 961 confirmed cases not only in Africa but also in China, because of the human mobility between different countries.

The health community is informed about what’s happening in Brazil, and they are working to prevent another international emergency. Early identification of cases and implementation of prevention strategies is essential, like the mosquito control and the preventive and frequent vaccination in the jungles and urban centers that are close to them.

The yellow fever was imported into the Americas from Africa in the 1600s, and it was not until 1937 when Max Theiler developed the vaccine. Since then, Yellow Fever has killed a lot of people in the continent, resulting in more than 60,000 deaths per year, according to the World Health Organization.

Source: The New England Journal of Medicine