Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika cases are decreasing in Brazil.
The Ascel Bio forecast shows a downward trend in the cases of Dengue after a peak during late March and early April. Cases are expected to drop during the first week of June. This pattern is consistent with the seasonal peak observed in previous years between February and May, which corresponds to the rainy season in the country. However, the observed number of cases exceeded the number of cases forecast and those reported in 2015.
As reported in previous Ascel Bio Watch Notices on Zika and Dengue on 2016/02/24 and 2016/03/09, respectively, the same behavior was expected to be followed by Chikungunya and Zika viruses. According to the health ministry of Brazil, currently, the reported number of cases of these two viruses is dropping, and most of the cases are reported in the northeast and central-east regions of the country. As of May 21, 2016, 7,623 cases of microcephaly have been reported, 42% remain under investigation, and 19% have been confirmed to be a Zika congenital infection. Specifically in Rio de Janeiro, where the Olympic Games will be taking place between August 5th to the 21st, there is a declining trend in the number of Dengue cases and likewise a decrease in the reported cases of Zika and Chikungunya.
The World Health Organization recommends pregnant women not to travel to Rio de Janeiro or any other city in Brazil where Zika is transmitted. To prevent sexual transmission, persons are advised to practice safe sex or abstinence during travel to outbreak areas and within the following four weeks after their return in the presence of Zika symptoms. Additional advisories for those going to the Olympics in Rio are to wear skin-covering clothes (mainly during the day and if possible bright-colored), and use insect repellents and air-conditioning when possible.
Diana Higuera is a physician from Colombia, currently pursuing a M.S. in Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her major interest is infectious disease dynamics, specifically of vector borne diseases and vaccine prevented illnesses. She has been working on creating new alternatives for vector control against dengue transmission in hyper-endemic regions of Colombia.