Health officials in Minas Gerais state reported at least 484,000 suspected cases of dengue fever as of December 18. Officials have also confirmed that the outbreak has resulted in at least 153 deaths statewide, with an additional 94 fatal cases under investigation.
According to local health authorities, more than 200 municipalities across the state are on alert and another 15 are at risk. Authorities are continuing to implement public health measures, including fumigation campaigns aimed at eliminating mosquito breeding grounds, to hinder the further spread of the disease.
Governor Romeu Zema declared a public health emergency in the state of Minas Gerais on April 23 due to the ongoing dengue outbreak. The 2019 outbreak is now considered the largest ever recorded in Minas Gerais; the second largest was 2016, which holds the record for most associated deaths at 208.
In 2019, deaths have been recorded in Betim, Belo Horizonte, Uberlândia, Contagem, Unaí, Arcos, Frutal, Ibirité, Paracatu, Curvelo, João Monlevade, João Pinheiro, Lagoa da Prata, Martinho Campos, Passos, São Gonçalo do Pará, Uberaba, Vazante, Patos de Minas, Rio Paranaíba, and São Gotardo.
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease found mostly in urban and semi-urban areas. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, nausea, and rash. In a small number of cases, the potentially deadly dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) may develop, resulting in internal bleeding, enlargement of the liver, and high fever.
Individuals present in Minas Gerais state are advised to take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites (e.g. by wearing covering clothing, using insect repellent, and sleeping in a screened-in or air-conditioned room) and to eliminate possible mosquito breeding grounds on their properties (e.g. small pockets of fresh water, such as rainwater that has collected in cans, bottles, tires, flower pots, clogged gutters, etc.).