Brazil has had one of the worst years ever when it comes to diseases, as the politically unstable country has dealt with the Zika virus, dengue fever, and now swine flu.
The government has started administering vaccinations for H1N1 – the medical term for swine flu – Brazil-wide. In 2016 alone, 230 people have died from swine flu in Brazil with over 70 people dying just last week according to the Brazilian Health Ministry.
To combat the spread of swine flu, in Brazil’s largest city alone, São Paulo, 1.7 million people have been willingly jabbed to avoid the illness. The host city of the 2016 summer Olympics, Rio de Janeiro, has 4 million shots good to go for whoever doesn’t want swine flu.
Swine flu deaths in 2016 are “more than six times the number for the whole of 2015,” according to BBC News. This rapid rise in swine flu fatalities comes just after the global crisis caused by the Zika virus which the World Health Organization declared to be a global health emergency February 1.
While it was not as widely reported due to the Zika virus, Brazil has also been dealing with the spread of dengue fever, another mosquito-borne illness. In fact, ” the disease is carried by the same mosquito that spreads the Zika virus,” according to The Washington Post.
The Zika virus is associated with microcephaly, a condition which causes reduced brain development and skull growth in newborn babies. This saddening and terrible condition can be developed if a pregnant woman becomes infected by the Zika virus. Risk of developing this condition led many majority Catholic Latin American countries to consider changing their laws on abortion.
A Brazilian professor who specializes in infectious diseases and pediatrics at the State University of Rio de Janeiro told The Washington Post in February that he believes, “We will probably have a dengue epidemic.”
The three pronged public health crisis being faced by Brazil is set against the backdrop of an increasingly unstable political reality. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was impeached April 17 by the Brazilian Lower House – equivalent of the U.S. House of Representatives – and now awaits the result of a Senate trial which could oust her from office.
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