Dengue epidemic spreads in Rio; 2,000 new cases a day
( dpa )- A governmental health-crisis team was meeting Monday to discuss measures against the spreading dengue fever epidemic, with 2,000 new cases reported daily and at least 30 deaths since January in Rio alone.
Health Minister Jose Temporao announced a press conference for later Monday.
On Sunday, a handful of about 100 protestors in Copacabana, Brazil's beach locale, demonstrated against the inaction of officials and inadequate treatment offered in public hospitals.
"Dengue is claiming more lives than violence," the residents of Rio are in panic, said Marilsa Barbosa , a nurse.
Across the province around Rio, 49 deaths have been reported.
In 2002, an epidemic of the mosquito-borne illness claimed 90 lives in the province.
Dengue fever is endemic in the tropics and subtropics. Symptoms include those of a bad flu, and children are especially at risk. There are no innoculations against the illness.
Brazil's Defence Minister Nelson Jobim said Friday during a visit to Washington that the Brazilian military was prepared to help fight the disease. The military plans to start erecting tented clinics.
"The situation in Rio is very serious," Jobim said.
Patients must wait for hours outside clinics to get help. Small children have fainted from the soaring temperatures.
"Dengue fever has reached many neighbourhoods in the city, and it is spreading," warned Jorge Darze , president of a physicians' union.