Brazil Orders Massive Supply of Yellow Fever Vaccines

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. fatal / ˈfeɪt l / (adj) – destructive

    Example: Cancer is one of the most fatal diseases.

  2. upsurge / ˈʌpˌsɜrdʒ / (n) – a significant increase

    There has been an upsurge in waterborne diseases lately.

  3. at risk / ət rɪsk / (idiom) – a situation where there is a high possibility of danger

    His smoking habit puts him at risk for lung cancer.

  4. immune / ɪˈmyun / (adj) – unaffected by something

    Certain vitamins can help you become immune to diseases.

  5. transmission / trænsˈmɪʃ ən, trænz- / (n) – the act of passing on something

    The transmission of virus can lead to infectious diseases.


Read the text below.

Brazil’s health ministry ordered 11.5 million doses of yellow fever vaccine to address the disease’s biggest outbreak in the country’s history since 2000.

More than a hundred cases of the disease, 40 of which were fatal, have been confirmed since 2016. To prevent an upsurge, the Brazilian government recommended vaccinations for people travelling to areas with confirmed cases such as Minas Gerais [MEE-nuh s zhi-RAHYS], São Paulo [SOU POU-loh], and Espirito Santo. Around 5.5 million vaccines were sent to the states at risk.  An additional 6 million are expected to arrive and another 9 million doses are in production.


Yellow fever is a disease carried by monkeys and transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. Symptoms of the first phase of infection include fever, body pain, headache, shivers, appetite loss, and vomiting. Symptoms in the second phase of infection include high fever, bleeding, liver failure, and jaundice [JAWN-dis]. Although only 15% of people reach the second phase, around 20 to 50% of them die after 10 to 14 days.


Because there is no specific cure for yellow fever, patients can only receive treatment for symptoms or have themselves vaccinated. The vaccine, which helps the body become immune to the disease, is recommended for travelers aged 9 months and above. An indirect way of preventing the transmission of the virus is to minimize contact with mosquitoes through the use of insect repellent and the wearing of thick clothing to reduce mosquito bites.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think that the actions of the Brazilian government to address the yellow fever outbreak are enough? Why or why not?
• In your opinion, what can be done to permanently prevent the yellow fever outbreak?

Discussion B

• Should governments invest more in preventing a disease or curing it? Explain your answer.
• What are some initiatives that can prevent a disease outbreak?