Brazil is one of the most populated countries in Latin America, ranking fifth place in the world (U.S. Department of State, 2007). Health care has been an issue to the country because of its size, population, and area.
As with all countries, a lot of diseases can be found here. Significant diseases include malaria, yellow fever, and dengue fever (St. Louis and Draffen, 2005). Although some of these are considered vaccine-preventable disease like yellow fever, hepatitis, typhoid, and rabies (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), it is still advisable to take extra care when going to this region.
As indicated, one of the diseases that the country is concerned about is yellow fever. The disease multiplies in a quicker way in places where the weather is warm (Cefrey, 2002). As such, yellow fever is more than likely to affect the people in Brazil due to the nature of its weather and climate. On February 1, 2008, the Ministry of Health, Brazil reported 48 occurrences of yellow fever including 13 deaths (World Health Organization, 2008). It has actually disappeared in occurrence but has become a threat again these days.
Another threat in this country is malaria. The disease is caused by the parasite Plasmodium, which can kill and disable more people than most infectious diseases (Sherman, 1998). It is considered endemic to the area.
Malaria can be treated by anti-malarial drugs including chloroquine, quinine sulfate, hydroxychloroquine, combination of suldadoxine and pyrimethamine, mefloquine, combinaton of atovaquone and proguanil, and doxycycline (Mayo Clinic). Because the disease is caused by a certain type of mosquito, preventing its occurrence can be difficult, especially with Brazil’s environment.
There are still numerous other diseases that can be found in Brazil, aside from the usual illnesses that all countries encounter. The country has a hard time eliminating these diseases because of the weather, climate, and surroundings. It is known that part of the Amazon Jungle is located in the country. As such, parasites that carry these diseases from the jungle can not be avoided.
The government should be concerned about these things because when the diseases spread, the country could lose a very large number of its population. Also, when there is loss of population, there would also be loss of workforce. And when this happens, the economy would suffer.
On the brighter side, basic child health care and nutrition have improved in the country. A lot of projects are being financed by the world bank focusing on the mentioned diseases. It is safe to say that the government is doing something about these health scares. Because of this, travelers do not have to worry about going to Brazil. Aside from the government doing damage control, diseases can be avoided by receiving vaccines, antibiotics, and doing research about the country and the common illnesses.
These diseases should be considered seriously and not be taken lightly. It is actually very fortunate that treatment has been discovered for these diseases. Spending and borrowing large amounts of money from the World Bank is worth it if it means saving the country’s people because without them, the country would not exist. Although Brazil’s health system may be considered weak, it can be said that it is trying its best.
Cefrey, Holly. (2002). Yellow Fever. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group.
Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health Information for Travelers to Brazil. Retrieved March 3, 2008, from http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinationBrazil.aspx
Draffen, A. ; St. Louis, R. (2005). Brazil. Lonely Planet.
Mayo Clinic. (2007, March 19). Malaria. Retrieved March 3, 2008, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/malaria/DS00475/DSECTION=8
Sherman, I. (1998). Malaria: Parasite Biology, Pathogenesis, and Protection. Washington, 0 D.C.: ASM Press.
U.S. Department of State. (2007, November). Background Note: Brazil. Retrieved March 3, 2008, from http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/35640.htm
World Health Organization. (2008, February 5). Yellow Fever in Brazil. Retrieved March 3, 2008, from http://www.who.int/csr/don/2008_02_07/en/index.html