Brazil has had a long history of virus outbreaks. Brazil had an outbreak of the Guillain-Barré syndrome. Data shows that from January to November in 2016 “1,708 cases of GBS were registered nationwide” (who.int). On January sixth, in 2017, “the Brazil Ministry of Health (MoH) reported 12 suspected cases of yellow fever from six municipalities in the state of Minas Gerais” (who.int). Brazil has had a “measles outbreak” from January first to the twenty-third of May in 2018. “here were 995 reported cases” of the measles” (who.int). The microcephaly outbreak is one of the symptoms of the zika virus.
On January fourth, 2016, “the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Brazil provided PAHO/WHO with an epidemiological report regarding the increase of microcephaly cases in the country”. “As of 2 January, 3,174 suspected cases of microcephaly, including 38 deaths, had been identified at the national level. The cases are distributed across 684 municipalities of 21 federal units” (who.int). The social and economic conditions coupled with the lack of healthcare for many of the residents of Brazil has resulted in a disastrous epidemic, known as the zika virus. The zika virus is carried by the aegypti mosquitoes and can give fetuses deformities such as fetal microcephaly. Because fetuses can be affected by the zika virus, pregnant women are at the most risk of obtaining this virus. The symptoms of the zika virus are fever, rash, and joint pain.
Also, only one in five infected individuals exhibiting any signs of illness. The lack of healthcare is one of the biggest reasons why Brazil had a zika outbreak. “In the past few decades, vector control programs have not prevented the spread and introduction of diseases transmitted by Aedes aegypti, even in areas with well-organized public health systems”. Also “lessened surveillance, reduction of vector control personnel, and rapid and unplanned urbanization, often lacking proper sanitation, reliable access to piped water, and regular waste collection, have created cities with conditions extraordinarily well suited to Ae. aegypti and thus to the transmission of dengue, chikungunya, and Zika virus” (tandfonline.com). Brazil’s lack of healthcare has caused around “6,906 suspected cases of microcephaly as of April 2, 2016” (tandfonline.com). Because of this, the Ministry of Health has “issued guidelines for early stimulation of children born with microcephaly; is preparing specialized training for physical therapists, psychologists, physicians, phono audiologists, among other professionals; and is certifying rehabilitation centers for the proper delivery of care”. Brazil has “also passed legislation to provide a special monthly payment to poor families that have a microcephalic child.” (Tandfonline.com).
This is showing that the national health system is trying to deliver the proper care for these Brazilians. To prevent the virus from spreading, the Brazilian government has “recruited 55,000 military personnel to support the work of vector control teams” and almost “one million houses were inspected in 290 cities. Yet, this effort is not sustainable over time, and some critical areas in slums were not targeted” (Tandfonline.com). To target the critical areas, scientists were trying new approaches such as the “genetic engineering of mosquitoes”, but in the past few decades, vector control programs have not prevented the spread of the Aedes aegypti, even in areas with good public health systems. Current vector control efforts will never be successful without “sanitation, access to piped water, and regular waste collection” (Tandfonline.com). The zika epidemic has caused a major decline in Brazil’s economy. The consequences of the Zika virus “can undermine decades of social development, hard-earned health gains” (undp.org). Also, Brazil still remains vulnerable to emerging diseases which mainly affects the poorer populations. This has a wide range of “social and economic implications for entire communities, regions, and nations” (undp.org). The zika virus has “disproportionately” affected “the poorest and most vulnerable communities, contributing to widening inequalities in the region” (undp.org).
The zika virus’s costs from 2015 to 2017 are estimated to be around seven and eighteen billion dollars in Latin America, according to the “the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)” (undp.org). Reports show that the nation’s response to the virus has “faced several challenges, including modest capacity in surveillance and diagnostic systems, prevention efforts, resource allocation and coordination” (undp.org). Also, constant “social disparities and unequal health service coverage have made it difficult for national responses to reach the most vulnerable groups” (undp.org). The Carribean is affected the most, with “an impact five times that of South America” (undp.org). Also, the Carribean, with the zika virus, has the potential to lose around a “total of $9 billion over three years or 0.06 percent of GDP annually” (undp.org).