Updated 03:26 PM EST, Sun, Jan 17, 2021

Brazil Approves Sanofi’s Dengue Fever Vaccine as Cases Continue to Rise in the Country

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Brazil has approved a dengue fever vaccine from Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine division of France's Sanofi SA.

The country's food and drug administration, Anvisa, granted the approval, with the government to set the price, MarketWatch reported. The agency and the company didn't reveal when the vaccine, with the brand name Dengvaxia, will become accessible in Brazil.

The approval of Dengvaxia comes amid Brazil's two other struggles with serious mosquito-borne diseases for which there are no available vaccines, MarketWatch added. Aside from dengue, the nation is also experiencing an increase in the number of cases of chikungunya, which causes fever and joint pain.

In November, the number of suspected dengue cases in Brazil this year spiked up to 1.5 million from 555,400 cases reported over the same period in 2014, the news outlet further reported from the latest figures gathered by the health ministry.

Dengue is spread through the bite of the female mosquito called Aedes aegypti, MarketWatch wrote. Symptoms associated with the disease include intense muscle pain, high fever, headaches, skin rashes, vomiting, and mild bleeding of the nose or gums. Heavy bleeding, shock, and even death also occur in some rare cases.

MarketWatch reported from the World Health Organization, or WHO, that dengue infects around 390 million people annually worldwide, with roughly 12,500 individuals dying from the disease each year. Brazil is the third country to approve Sanofi's vaccine, after Mexico and Philippines.

This month, Brazilian officials warned women against pregnancy due to a new virus causing brain damage to newborn babies.

The Zika pathogen reportedly originated from mosquitoes as well and was first discovered in forest monkeys in Africa over 70 years ago, the Washington Post reported. The virus causes mild symptoms in most cases but can result to severe neurological complications or even death in others.

On Nov. 28, Brazil's health ministry found the Zika virus during an autopsy in a baby that had microcephaly, a rare condition in which infants are born with shrunken skulls, the Washington Post added. The virus was also found in the amniotic fluid of two mothers whose babies had the disease.

This year, over 2,400 suspected cases of microcephaly have been reported in 20 Brazilian states, a rise from 147 cases in 2014, CNN wrote.

Six states have declared a state of emergency due to virus' outbreak, CNN reported. Over 900 cases have been reported in the Pernambuco state alone. Doctors also said that most of the affected mothers reported experiencing Zika-like symptoms during their pregnancy's early stages, such as rash, mild fever, and heartaches.

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