Baku. 13 February. REPORT.AZ/ Brazil reported a nearly 50 percent jump in cases of dengue fever reported over a three-week period in January, a worrying finding because the disease is carried by the same mosquito that spreads the Zika virus, Report informs citing the BBC.
“This is a very strong indication that the Zika cases are increasing and that the combat against the mosquito is not being efficient,” said Marcos Lago, an associate professor of infectious diseases and pediatrics at the State University of Rio de Janeiro.
Brazil has been panicked by thousands of suspected cases of the birth defect microcephaly, which the government has linked to an epidemic of the Zika virus that began last year.
“We will probably have a dengue epidemic,” Lago said. “And this dengue epidemic will be accompanied by a Zika epidemic.”
Brazil’s Health Ministry reported 74,000 “probable” cases of dengue from Jan. 3 to Jan. 23 — an increase of almost 50 percent from the same period in January 2015.
Dengue, Zika and another disease called chikungunya are spread by the same mosquito — the Aedes aegypti. The government is urgently trying to slow the increase in the number of such mosquitoes, which lay their eggs in standing water.
President Dilma Rousseff and government ministers plan to join 220 000 Brazilian soldiers who will visit homes Saturday to educate the population about the mosquito.
Next week, 50,000 members of the military will visit homes to try to eradicate breeding spots.
Rousseff and Health Minister Marcelo Castro have cautioned that Brazil islosing the battle against the mosquito.
The government has blamed Zika for a big rise in the number of babies born with microcephaly, a congenital defect that is characterized by an abnormally small head. The malformation can cause motor and learning difficulties along with other disabilities.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have yet to definitively establish a link between Zika and microcephaly, but many leading scientists think a connection is likely.