Updated 08:11 PM EDT, Wed, Oct 21, 2020

Dengue Cases on the Rise in Rio de Janeiro: Operation Launched to Root Out Virus Ahead of the 2016 Olympics

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Rio de Janeiro is beginning its effort to eradicate dengue fever-carrying mosquitoes on Wednesday. There was a recent explosion of cases of the deadly tropical disease and this could endanger the 2016 Olympics that will be hosted in the city next year.

In a report with Yahoo News Sports, municipal workers have been deployed across Rio in an effort to clean up breeding grounds of the mosquitoes. Local residents were also encouraged to join the workers in efforts to clean up their surroundings.

In Tijuca, workers also broke through the gates of abandoned houses to clean up the stagnant water where mosquitoes lay their eggs.

Sanitation worker Luciano Lobo said that some homeless people would leave their litter behind. He added that when it rains, these would be filled up with water and that is how an area gets "infested."

This year it was reported by the website that Rio de Janeiro state has over 67,000 registered cases of dengue this year. This number saw 550 percent from last year.

The surge in the number of dengue cases came after a drought earlier in the year which caused local residents to store containers of water. Ironically, this gave the mosquitoes ample new breeding grounds.

Those who are stricken with dengue fever usually experience flu-like symptoms and could prove fatal when it develops into a hemorrhagic fever.

Dengue is transmitted by the bite of the female Aedes aegypti mosquito. Symptoms include intense muscle pain, high fever, headaches, vomiting, skin rashes and some experience a mild bleeding of the nose or gums. 

This year, it was reported that 23 people have been killed from Dengue fever in the Rio state, up from 11 in 2014.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Brazil has approved Sanofi Pasteur's dengue vaccine on Monday. The publication said that the number of suspected dengue cases in Brazil this year has already reached 1.5 million. This was an alarming increase from 555,400 cases registered over the same period in 2014.

The publication also reports that Dengue fever infects about 390 million people a year all around the world. The World Health Organization says that around 12,500 people die from dengue every year.

The approval of the vaccine was granted by Anvisa, Brazil's food and drug administration. The price of the vaccine will be set by the Brazilian government.  It was not disclosed when the vaccine, with the brand name Dengvaxia, will become available in the country. 

Brazil is the third country to approve Sanofi's vaccine after Mexico and the Philippines.

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