Is Yellow Fever The Next Zika Virus? Brazil Outbreak Could Spread Through United States

By Claire Parker, Parent Herald March 11, 12:57 pm

United States officials are closely monitoring the yellow fever outbreak in Brazil. Authorities believe the case might be the next Zika as it might spread across borders.

Two health experts contended in an essay published in the New England Journal of Medicine the likelihood of yellow fever getting to the United States is low but it could still spread in the country via travel-related transmissions. Zika first broke out outside the United States and Florida became the hot bed of the virus after travel-related cases were confirmed, CNN reported.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and his colleague, Dr. Catharine Paules, said yellow fever could be more evident in warmer regions. They also said, "In an era of frequent international travel, any marked increase in domestic cases in Brazil raises the possibility of travel-related cases."

Zika spread in Brazil in 2015 then subsequently affected 60 more countries. The current yellow fever outbreak started in Brazil in December and numbers have since increased. As of March, the yellow fever outbreak killed 220. Data showed that a total of 326 cases was confirmed while 916 were listed to be suspected cases, Men's Health revealed.

Most of the cases are confined to rural areas but some cases moved closer to Rio de Janeiro. It is possible that yellow fever will continue to spread in urban areas due to the denser communities in the latter. Most of the citizens there are also believed to have not been vaccinated against the virus.

Just like Zika virus, yellow fever is transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms of yellow fever are likened to flu and could include fever, headache, vomiting, fatigue, jaundice, and nausea. Around 15 percent of the suspected cases evolve into a more severe form and it causes internal bleeding, organ failure, and shock.

Meanwhile, most outbreaks occurred in South AmerIca and Africa in the past. Even though it only showed flu-like symptoms, the disease could also lead to death.

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