Brazil says a third adult has died of Zika

Dom Phillips, Nick Miroff – Washington Post, 02/11/2016

Brazil’s health ministry said Thursday that a 20-year-old woman infected with Zika has become the country’s third adult fatality linked to the virus, but scientists caution that they’re only beginning to identify Zika’s potential risks to human health.

After falling ill last April, the woman began coughing up blood, and died after a 12-day hospitalization, according to Brazilian government researchers. The cause of death was registered as pneumonia, but her blood samples later tested positive for Zika.

Brazilian researchers said the patient’s respiratory problems were unusual for a case of Zika, so other factors could have contributed to her death. “She could have developed bronchial pneumonia and the association with the Zika virus made this worse,” said Pedro Vasconcelos, the Brazilian government scientist who led the tests.

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Brazil to produce measles/rubella vaccine for poor countries

Reuters, 10/28/2013

Brazil´s top biomedical research and development center announced plans on Monday to produce a combined measles and rubella vaccine for developing countries, mainly in Africa.

The first Brazilian vaccine developed specifically for export will be made by Bio-Manguinhos, a unit of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Brazilian health minister Alexandre Padilha announced the vaccine plan at a medical science conference that the Gates Foundation organized in Rio de Janeiro.

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Brazil’s doctors jeer at Cuban medics arriving to work in rural health scheme

Jonathan Watts – The Guardian, 08/28/2013

Dilma Rousseff, the Brazilian president, has accused the nation’s doctors of “immense prejudice” towards their Cuban counterparts after the first medics to arrive from Havana were greeted with jeers.

The Cuban doctors have been invited to work in Brazil to support the fragile health system – one of the issues that prompted mass protests in June. Under the government’s Mais Médicos (More Doctors) programme, 4,000 Cuban professionals will work in poor and remote areas of Brazil that are short of hospital staff.

After the first contingent of 400 arrived at the weekend they were booed by local doctors, who oppose what they describe as a stop-gap measure that fails to address the need for more investment in hospitals and better pay for doctors.

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Brazil now looking for Portuguese, Spanish doctors, not cubans

Reuters, 07/09/2013

The Brazilian government, under pressure to improve public health services, has dropped plans to import a contingent of Cuban doctors and is instead looking to hire physicians in Spain and Portugal, the Health Ministry said on Monday.

The plan to bring in Cuban doctors created a backlash because of questions about their qualifications. Brazilian medical associations argued that standards at Cuba’s medical schools were lower than in Brazil and equivalent in some cases to a nursing education.

Brazil was rocked last month by massive protests fueled by frustration with a high cost of living and deplorable public transportation, education and health services, plus anger over the billions that will be spent to host the 2014 World Cup.

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Foreign doctors allowed to work on the fringes of large cities

Flavia Foreque – Folha de S. Paulo, 06/13/2013

Doctors with a diploma obtained abroad, invited by the Brazilian government to work in primary care, can be based in large centers such as the city of São Paulo.

To do so, the professional must serve the regions of the municipality where there is currently a shortage of doctors, such as the outskirts of the city. Since the beginning of the debate, the Ministry of Health has stressed that the goal is to serve these regions, in addition to cities in the countryside.

“Of course the greatest need is in the North and Northeast, but not only the cities in the countryside. The outskirts of the large cities also have a shortage of doctors,” Minister Alexandre Padilha (Health) said to Folha.

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Brazil expands its anti-AIDS program

AP/Bloomberg Businessweek, 08/30/2012

Brazil’s anti-AIDS program will be expanded to include at least 35,000 more people, a Health Ministry official said Wednesday.

Ronaldo Hallal of the ministry’s Sexually Transmitted Disease Department said people with 500 or fewer CD4 cells per cubic millimeter will receive anti-retroviral HIV treatment. Before the program’s expansion, people with 350 or less CD4 cells per cubic millimeter received treatment.

CD4 cell levels measure the strength of the immune system.

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Obesity rates soaring in Brazil as prosperity flourishes

Palash R. Ghosh – IBTimes,  04/12/2012

An overweight Brazilian woman walks on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro. (Photo: Reuters)

Brazil, the land of suntanned, slender, bikini-wearing beauties and lean muscular macho men, is now facing a health problem more associated with the advanced economies of western Europe and North America – rising rates of obesity.

According to a survey by the nation’s Ministry of Health, nearly half (48.5 percent) of the Brazilian population was overweight as of 2011, up from 42.7 percent just five years before.

Moreover, the proportion of Brazilians who are obese leaped from 11.4 percent to 15.8 percent over that period.

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