Yellow fever has broken out in the jungles outside Brazil’s most densely-populated cities, raising a frightening but still remote possibility: an epidemic that could decimate that country’s population and spread throughout the Americas, including the United States.
In an essay rushed into print by the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday, two doctors from the National Institutes of Health warn that cases of yellow fever, which can kill as many as 10% of those infected, have seen an unusual spike in the last few weeks in several rural areas of Brazil.
Those outbreaks have been limited to places where there aren’t enough people or virus-spreading mosquitoes to fuel a rapid run-up in transmission. But they are on the edge of major urban areas where residents are largely unvaccinated, and where both humans and insects are packed densely enough to accelerate the disease’s spread…. [read more]