Two years after the World Health Organization declared the Americas free of measles, it could (along with other diseases) be about to make a comeback. An outbreak in the North of Brazil has infected nearly 500 people and placed authorities on alert. Besides the confirmed infections, there have been an additional 1,500 suspected cases. In Rio de Janeiro, where the disease has been absent for the past 18 years, 4 suspected cases were registered.
The Brazilian government has blamed the outbreak on the arrival of refugees from Venezuela, where the healthcare system is on the cusp of total collapse. However, a reduction in vaccination cover is also a factor. In 312 municipalities, less than half of children have been inoculated – the target rate is 95 percent.
To discuss the issue, Explaining Brazil hosts Dr. Rosana Richtmann, an infectious disease specialist at the Emilio Ribas Institute, in São Paulo.
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Gustavo Ribeiro has extensive experience covering Brazilian politics. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets, including Veja, Época, Folha de São Paulo, Médiapart and Radio France Internationale. He is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Abril Prize for outstanding political journalism. He holds a master’s degree in Political Science and Latin American studies from Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris.
Rosana Richtmann is an infectious diseases specialist at the Emilio Ribas Institute, in São Paulo. She holds a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of Freiburg, in Germany. Dr. Richtmann is also a member of the Brazilian Infectiology Society and has been a vocal expert against misinformation about contagious diseases and vaccination.
This podcast was produced by Maria Martha Bruno. She is a journalist with 14 years of experience in politics, arts, and breaking news. She has collaborated with Al Jazeera, NBC, and CNN, among others, and worked as an international correspondent in Buenos Aires.
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