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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.