Zika exposes class differences in Brazil, where most victims are poor

Alex Cuadros – The Washington Post, 02/24/2016

Watching kids skate around an ice rink inside the 1-million-square-foot Ribeirao Shopping center, you would hardly guess that this city is one of the hardest hit by the Zika epidemic.

Young women in dresses buy lattes at a Starbucks by the rink. Men in shorts and T-shirts take selfies with their cellphones next to a stand selling exercise machines. If they look unconcerned, it’s because, in this air-conditioned space, the mosquito that carries Zika can’t survive.

Although 230 miles from the southeastern coast, Ribeirao Preto is sometimes called the California of Brazil. The nickname traces back to the 1980s, when a boom in sugar and ethanol production raised living standards for many residents. But the boom left many others behind.

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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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