From: Reuters
Published March 23, 2008 01:21 PM

Brazil military will combat dengue outbreak in Rio

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil's military will help fight an outbreak of dengue fever in Rio de Janeiro, the defense ministry said at the weekend, after the disease killed 49 people and made more than 30,000 ill this year.

Public hospitals in the northern and western districts of the city were overwhelmed by the number of patients seeking treatment at the weekend. Many complained about long delays.

The defense ministry said Army, Air Force and Navy commanders would propose an action plan to Defense Minister Nelson Jobim as early as Monday on how to combat the disease in the famous beach and port city.

Jobim said on Friday the armed forces may set up field hospitals in the city.

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Health officials confirmed on Sunday that a 12-year-old boy died of dengue, bringing the death toll to 49 people this year, according to the Globo Online news agency.

More than 30,000 people have fallen ill with the disease this year, state health officials said on Thursday.

Rio de Janeiro Health Secretary described the outbreak as an epidemic, according to the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper.

Dengue is a viral disease spread by the Aedes mosquito and there is no vaccine or drug to treat it.

(Reporting by Raymond Colitt; Editing by John O'Callaghan)

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