The dengue fever outbreak around Rio de Janeiro has killed up to 100 people since January. Health officials now fear the disease may spread to other regions in the country. (Report: P.-L. Viollat)
Brazilian officials met representatives of 35 countries on Friday, April 18 to answer their concerns over a dengue fever outbreak in Rio de Janeiro, saying the disease was at its peak but may not yet be under control.
Rio state officials called the meeting with envoys from the United States, Japan and France among other countries over the mosquito-borne disease that has killed at least 87 people in the region and sickened more than 93,000 this year.
"We are at the peak of the epidemic with a trend towards a decline, but this isn't a reason to celebrate yet," Sergio Cortes, the state health secretary, said after the meeting.
He said that smaller lines of sufferers at hospitals in recent days were not necessarily a sign the outbreak was in retreat because many people were going to new hydration centers set up to treat dengue victims.
Brazil's worst dengue outbreak in years has highlighted the stark difference between rich and poor in the picturesque beach-side city.
Unsanitary conditions and a lack of medical centers in the city's hundreds of slums have worsened its impact among the poor, while tourist areas like Copacabana and Ipanema have been largely unscathed.
The Globo newspaper reported that occupancy rates in Rio's hotels were down 15 percent from the year before for the coming long holiday weekend due to dengue fears.
Two Portuguese tourists fell ill with dengue while on vacation here, but most foreign visitors appear undeterred.
Hugues Goisbault, the French consul-general in Rio, said that his consulate had been receiving calls from concerned tourists but that flights from France to Rio "had never been so full."
Date created : 2008-04-26