SAO PAULO – The state of Sao Paulo, the most populous and industrialized state in Brazil, reported on Friday an increase in the number of yellow fever deaths from 36 to 52 from January 2017, an increase of 44.4 percent in just one week, informed official sources.
The data comes at a time when the southeastern region of the country is undergoing an intensive vaccination campaign to prevent the expansion of a new outbreak of the disease in states such as Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro.
The Ministry of Health of Sao Paulo reported that in the last year a total of 134 confirmed cases of the disease were registered, of which 52 resulted in death, according to the last bulletin released on Friday.
The previous report, dated Jan. 19, noted 36 deaths from the virus, marking a 44.4 percent increase in the number of deaths in Sao Paulo.
All reported cases are of the wild type, transmitted by the mosquito species Haemagogus and Sabethes, which live in wooded areas.
Brazil has not registered infections of the urban type, transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the vector of dengue, Zika and Chikungunya, since 1942.
The numbers again exceed those provided on Tuesday by the Ministry of Health, which increased from 20 to 53 deaths recorded in the last week across the country between Jul. 1, 2017 and Jan. 23, 2018, while the cases climbed to 130.
According to this statistic, already outdated, the most affected states are Minas Gerais, with 24 deaths, Sao Paulo with 21, and Rio de Janeiro with eight.
The authorities once again denied the existence of a new outbreak of yellow fever in the country as occurred in the first half of last year which included about 800 confirmed cases and some 260 deaths, mostly in the southeast region of the country.
The current vaccination campaign against yellow fever is due to immunize some 20 million people in the states of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
The campaign will end in February and will include fractionated vaccines, which are as effective as the standard ones, but only guarantee immunity for two years.
The plan was developed with the support of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and “to date is the world’s largest fractionated dose yellow fever vaccination campaign,” according to a statement.
Experts from both organizations will be in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo to “support” and “monitor” the vaccination campaign and “epidemiological surveillance activities.”