[Sports] Strange disease threatens Brazil 2014

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A fresh health alarm has been raised with just 23 days to the kickoff of the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil.  The alarm which was a fallout of scientists working on the dengue fever disease have developed an “early warning system” to alert authorities to the risk of an outbreak in Brazil during the World Cup.

Though, the outbreak of the disease has been since 2,000 but since February 2013, there has been reason for an increased awareness for teams and visitors heading to Brazil, given the fact that in November 2013, the need for precautions were raised again and only last week, the issue came up again.

According to the scientists’ analysis, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, estimated the chances of an outbreaks of the mosquito-borne infection disease.

However, the cities, where Nigeria will be playing, including Cuiaba that would see the Super Eagles up against Iran on June 16, then to Curitiba to face Bosnia on June 21 and Porto Alegre to do battle with Argentina on June 25, showed that the risk of dengue fever was lower, just as  the case in Brasilia and Sao Paulo respectively.

Aside these areas, the study said the risk was high enough to warrant a high-alert warning in three venues – Natal, Fortaleza and Recife.

FIFA reported that about a million fans are expected to travel to the 12 different cities hosting matches during the World Cup, which runs from 12 June to 13 July.

Brazil recorded more cases of dengue fever than anywhere else in the world between 2000 and 2013, with more than seven million cases reported.

Dengue is a viral infection that is transmitted between humans by mosquitoes.

It can cause life-threatening illness and there are currently no licensed vaccines or treatments.

Screens, air-conditioning and using insecticides can all reduce the risk of being bitten,

The early-warning system cover 553 “microregions” across Brazil.

The team looked at rain and temperature data from 1981 to 2013 as well as population density data and altitude.

The risk of dengue fever is low in Brasilia, Cuiaba, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, and Sao Paulo.

However, they predict that there is some chance of dengue risk exceeding medium levels in Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Salvador and Manaus.

David Harley and Elvina Viennet, Australian National University in Canberra

The three cities with the greatest chance of high dengue risk are Natal, Fortaleza, and Recife.

Dr Rachel Lowe from the Catalan Institute of Climate Sciences in Barcelona, Spain, who led the research, said: “Recent concerns about dengue fever in Brazil during the World Cup have made dramatic headlines, but these estimates have been based solely on averages of past dengue cases.

“The possibility of a large dengue fever outbreak during the World Cup, capable of infecting visitors and spreading dengue back to their country of origin, depends on a combination of many factors, including large numbers of mosquitoes, a susceptible population, and a high rate of mosquito-human contact.”

The researchers say being able to plan in advance can give local authorities the time to implement measures to reduce or contain epidemics in their areas and to deal with the mosquito populations there.

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