The detection of Mayaro fever in the Brazilian state of Paraná (south), bordering Paraguay, set off alarms in the neighboring country about this emerging disease.
“There is an imminent risk of this virus being introduced into the country since the main vector continues to be the Aedes aegypti mosquito,” said the director of the VII sanitary region of the Department of Itapúa (southeast), José Carlos Acosta, to local media Más Encarnación.
The expert considered that repercussions could be expected in the coming weeks.
From Paraguay, the outbreak’s size and the virus’s origin are unknown.
Local health authorities requested more information from their Brazilian counterparts and deployed active surveillance in the territory.
“We do not know if this is a person who acquired the virus in another region of the country,” said the head of Health Surveillance, Guillermo Sequera.
He said that Paraguay is “attentive” to new reports and that it can diagnose the virus.
The cases in Brazil could be from an “outbreak that is spreading”, but “there are still no reports”, explained Sequera.
Mayaro fever is a zoonotic disease transmitted to humans by three mosquitoes of the genus Haemagogus and three species of the Aedes genus: Aedes aegypti, Aedes scapularis, and Aedes albopictus.
The disease occurs mainly in tropical regions of South and Central America, and its main hosts are birds.
In humans, it causes a high fever and severe joint pain, symptoms similar to chikungunya, also transmitted by Aedes aegypti.
The disease lasts between three and five days. It can result in joint pain for weeks or even months.
The most effective prevention method is vector control, so mosquito breeding sites, such as flower pots and water tanks, should be eliminated.
Since its discovery in 1954 in Trinidad and Tobago, more than 900 cases have been reported in 11 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to data from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
PAHO considers that surveillance of this disease in the region is limited compared to the presence of the virus in the area.
“There is a need to improve surveillance systems for arboviruses [which are transmitted, among others, by mosquitoes] in the affected countries,” the health agency warned.
With information from Sputnik
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