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Chikungunya Spreads and Creates State of Emergency in Minas Gerais' Countryside

05/30/2017 - 13h21

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CAROLINA LINHARES
SPECIAL ENVOY TO GOVERNADOR VALADARES, MINAS GERAIS

Months after contracting chikungunya in the city of Governador Valadares, the region where the explosion of cases of the illness in Minas Gerais has been concentrated, victims of the epidemic are returning to health centers with the same complaint: the pain in their joints persists.

This is the situation of Emídia Xavier de Silva, 56, a housekeeper, who was sick for two months.

"The fever got better, but I have a swollen arm and pain in my body. When I put my feet down on the floor in the morning everything hurts", she explains.

The illness, transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same that transmits dengue fever and Zika, is different, especially in the intense pain that it causes in hands, feet, knees and ankles. It also lasts longer - from 10 to 14 days, although the pain can continue for months or even years.

Under an alert for chikungunya, the State has recorded an increase of nearly 4.200% in the number of suspected cases of the illness between January and May of this year, compared to the same period in 2016.

Up until the 29th of May, there had been 15.988 suspected cases, according to the Secretary of Health. The region with the highest rates of incidence is Governador Valadares. The city has requested aid of R$ 4 million (US$ 1.22 million) from the State.

In the city of Engenheiro Caldas, 50 km from Governador Valadares, it's hard to find anyone who doesn't have cases of the illness in their family.

At the main health clinic, eight employees themselves had had chikungunya.

Alexandre Rezende/Folhapress
 Emídia Xavier de Silva, 56, a housekeeper, who was sick for two months
Emídia Xavier de Silva, 56, a housekeeper, who was sick for two months

Translated by LLOYD HARDER

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