Brazil threatened by a virus transmitted by midges

Health 28 August, 2017

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Published the 28.08.2017 at 12h28


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After an outbreak of Zika, and yellow fever, Brazil is not the end of his sentences. Researchers from Sao Paulo predict that the country will face a new disease : fever Oropouche.

Endemic in the region, this virus is transmitted by a midge called Culicoides paraensis. Smaller than mosquitoes, it would be able to pass through the nets, ensures the New York Times.

It was in 1955 that the virus was identified for the first time in Trinidad, before being observed in Brazil, where it has caused several epidemics. Between 1978 and 1980, 263 000 people were infected.

The gnat, who loved chocolate

Up to now, this virus does not risk too much in the city, preferring the lush amazon rain forest or cocoa plantations, favorite places midges, Culicoides paraensis. But the agricultural development and deforestation in the amazon basin have changed his habits. The virus has adapted and comes dangerously close to large cities.

“Oropouche is a virus that can emerge at any time and pose a serious public health problem in Brazil, worries about Luiz Tadeu Moraes Figueiredo, professor at school of medicine Ribeirao Preto to Sao Paulo.
C. paraensis is present everywhere in America, the virus Oroupouche therefore has a significant potential of emergence. It should spread from the amazon region, passing through the central plateau before reaching the most densely populated regions of the country. “

And disturbing facts suggest that the spread has already begun. The virus was found in birds in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, a region bordering Argentina and Uruguay. Of marmosets of the state of Minas Gerais, North of Sao Paulo, have also been contaminated, and primate of Minas Gerais, a brazilian metropolis, situated in the centre of the country, have antibodies to the virus Oropouche.