Friday, February 16, 2018

Scores of monkeys killed in Rio yellow fever panic, Feb 2018

Fears of spreading yellow fever are behind the illegal killing of scores of monkeys in Rio de Janeiro, complicating efforts to fight the virus, authorities say.
Locals, mistakenly believing that the animals can spread yellow fever to humans, are blamed for the surge in killings.
Just this year, 238 monkeys have been found dead in Rio state, compared to 602 in all of 2017, said the city sanitation service, launching a campaign against the killings. Of those, 69% showed signs of human aggression, mostly being beaten to death and some poisoned.
Last year, the proportion found killed by humans was 40%. The rest died of natural causes.
Yellow fever numbers have spiralled in parts of Brazil, causing 25 deaths in Rio state since the start of the year. The government has launched a mass vaccination programme but does not have enough vaccine to give everyone the full, lifetime dose.
The monkeys’ bodies are collected at an autopsy lab at the Rio Veterinary Centre, where co-ordinator Fabiana Lucena said panicking residents were making a big mistake by attacking the animals.
“People should understand that it’s the mosquito transmitting the yellow fever virus. The monkey is a victim and if there are no more monkeys in the countryside, then mosquitoes will come to attack people,” she said. “Monkeys serve as sentinels — they show us where the virus has gone,” she said.
“To have a more effective vaccination campaign, we have to identify the zones where monkeys are dying from yellow fever. When people kill them, the virus is harder to trace.” 
A dozen small dead monkeys lay on a table at the lab in preparation for examination.
“Here, you see multiple fractures to the jaws, cervical area, as well as numerous skull traumas,” she said, showing a primate’s head.
Some of the victims are found right in Rio city, where monkeys are commonly seen in forested areas.

Carnival lights up Rio despite crime wave, yellow fever scare, Feb 2018

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Carnival festivities took over Rio de Janeiro on Saturday, as revelers danced and drank at block parties with names like “fire in the underpants,” despite an extended crime wave in the city and a spike in yellow fever cases throughout Brazil.
Over 6 million people, including 1.5 million visitors, are expected to take to the streets of Rio for the annual celebrations, which pit the city’s 13 best samba schools against one another in ornate parades that can cost over $2 million a piece.
To launch the ‘world’s biggest party’ on Friday, officials handed a glittering key to the city to King Momo, a figurehead who presides over the partying and who, according to legend, was expelled from Mount Olympus before moving to Rio, the so-called “wonderful city.”
But the celebrations this year come amid escalating violence.
Gains made after police began a ‘pacification’ program in 2008, pushing drug gangs out of favelas, have been unraveling. An economic crisis dried up funding, and critics say the government did not make good on promised social advances for the slums.
Reports of shootings averaged 22 per day in January 2018, up from 16 last year, said Fogo Cruzado, a group which tracks armed violence in Rio.
In recent days, a three-year-old girl was killed in an attempted robbery and a thirteen-year-old boy died after being caught in crossfire between police and traffickers as he made his way home after a soccer game.
“We live with our hearts torn apart by so much violence,” Rio’s mayor Marcelo Crivella said on Friday at an event inaugurating the festivities. “Carnival at this moment is about resurgence, about hope,” he added.
Rio will beef up its police force to around 17,000 for the bacchanalia after the federal government denied a request for troops to help enforce security. Source
Brazil is also battling a spike in yellow fever, a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes in tropical regions, with 98 deaths and 353 cases now confirmed since July, 2017.
The outbreak of the disease, which is still a major killer in Africa but had been largely brought under control in the Americas, has hit the states of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais hardest.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Yellow Fever: Nigeria confirms nine deaths, Jan 2018

A yellow fever outbreak is currently ongoing in Nigeria with nine people confirmed dead from the disease, a report has said.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, in its situation report on yellow fever in the country released for the first epidemiological week in 2018 said the ailment has so far been confirmed in 12 local government areas across seven states.
The states are: Kwara, Kano, Niger, Nasarawa, Kebbi, Kogi and Zamfara.
The current outbreak started in Ifelodun Local Government Area in Kwara State with the first case detected in a seven-year-old girl in in September, 2017.
The girl had no previous history of yellow fever vaccination. She also had no travel history outside her state two years before the illness.
Since that incident, a total of 16 states, Abia, Borno, Kogi, Kwara, Kebbi, Plateau, Zamfara, Enugu, Oyo, Anambra, Edo, Lagos, Kano, Nasarawa, Katsina and Niger, have reported suspected cases.
According to NCDC, as at January 2, a total of 358 suspected yellow fever cases had been line-listed out of which 230 blood samples collected and sent to the laboratory for confirmation.
The agency said out of the samples collected and tested in five different Nigerian laboratories, 63 tested positive to the disease and one was inconclusive.
The same 64 samples were then sent to the WHO laboratory.
“Of the 64 (positive and inconclusive) samples sent to the World Health Organisation, WHO laboratory in Dakar, Senegal for laboratory confirmation, 32 were positive, 24 negative and seven results are still pending,” it stated.
NCDC also said that the total number of deaths in all cases (suspected, probable and confirmed cases) is 45, with nine listed as confirmed.
The report said the predominant age group affected are 20 years and below, accounting for 67. 8 per cent and the male to female ratio was 1.6 to 1.
To curb the spread of the disease, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, after the first case in Kwara state had said the federal government will embark on a nationwide vaccination against the disease by December, last year.
He said the vaccination was as a result of the current outbreak in Kwara State and it signified that many Nigerians are not immune to yellow fever.
Yellow fever is one of the vaccine preventable diseases which is expected to be given to children during the routine immunisation. The routine yellow fever vaccination was introduced to Nigeria’s expanded programme on immunization, EPI, in 2004.
Adults are also required to be vaccinated and issued a yellow fever card or certificate which is meant to be asked from travellers arriving from countries with risk of the disease.