Following health reports that about 1.5 million people in Brazil have come down with dengue fever in 2015, the country has approved nationwide vaccination with Dengvaxia, a dengue vaccine produced by Sanofi SA - The Wall Street Journal reports.
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Brazil is the largest country in Latin America, and the country’s food and drug administration agency (Anvisa), has granted Sanofi approval to distribute the new dengue fever in the country – following in the footsteps of Mexico and the Philippines.
Anvisa revealed the government will pay for the vaccines, but when it will be available for administration in the country remains unclear, while how much the Brazilian government will be paying for the vaccine remains unknown at the moment.
Brazil’s ministry of health was forced to approve vaccination with Dengvaxia when dengue cases rose to a phenomenal 1.5 million, as against the 555,400 cases recorded for 2014.
Dengue is an infectious disease of the tropics transmitted by mosquitoes and characterized by rash and aching head and joint pains. The female mosquito Aedes aegypti is the main culprit behind the spread of the dengue fever, and most patients experience high fever, vomiting, skin rashes, bleeding in the gum or nose, muscle pain; and in rare cases serious bleeding, shock, and death.
The World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that about 390 million people get infected annually with dengue globally, and 96 million of this requires hospital treatment; while 12,500 patients die from the fatal infection each year.
Brazil’s dengue war is worsened by the country’s efforts to contain two other mosquito-borne diseases with no known vaccines – necessitating the need to obtain Dengvaxia vaccines. The two other infections are outbreaks of chikungunya and the Zika virus.
Chikungunya causes severe joint pains and high fever, and Zika virus has been linked to infant brain damage and associated deaths with 40 fatalities already recorded in 2015. Also known as microcephaly, the infant brain damage makes babies to be born with small skulls, indicating underdeveloped brains.
Between November 24 to mid-December this year, about 2,782 cases of microcephaly cases have been seen – a rise of 16% over the previous week; with deaths rising from 29 to 40 within this same period. Only 147 cases of microcephaly was recorded in 2014.
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