Yellow fever: deadly outbreak in Brazil

Eleven people have died from an outbreak of yellow fever in Brazil’s state of Minas Gerais, one hundred kilometres from Belo Horizonte. The whole population in the area is to be vaccinated. This highly infectious disease is also called “black vomit disease”. It is a virus (Aedes aegypti) and spreads very fast and very easily. It attacks the lining of the stomach and intestines and destroys the liver and kidneys, causing the patients to vomit coagulated blood, hence the name “black vomit”. “Yellow” fever is so-named because in destroying the liver, the illness causes the patient to suffer from jaundice, which turns the skin a yellow colour. The preventive vaccine is effective but it must be administered before people catch the virus.


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