Brazil: Dengue Outbreak Prompts Public Health Emergency

    Brazil: Dengue Outbreak Prompts Public Health Emergency
    Photo: Mario Tama/Staff/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • The Brazilian municipality of Rio de Janeiro has declared a public health emergency due to an outbreak of dengue fever and announced special measures to contain the illness, just as tourists and revelers flock to the city for Carnival celebrations, which kicks off Friday evening.

    • As of Thursday, confirmed cases in Rio surpassed 14.9K this year alone, compared to roughly 22.9K cases throughout all of 2023, with hospitalizations in January reaching 362 — the highest record since 1974 — and one fatality reported.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    While several factors, such as population growth, do facilitate the spread of this mosquito-borne disease, climate change is the main driver of the worldwide spike in dengue cases. As humidity, rainfall, and temperatures have increased, mosquitoes are growing and incubating the virus faster.

    Narrative B

    While allegations that climate change and new weather patterns are to blame for mounting outbreaks of dengue fever offer a simple explanation that's comfortable both for those in power and ordinary citizens, this disease could have long been eradicated. It takes only some proactive, preventive measures to address this issue once and for all.

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