If you haven’t noticed the eruption of yellow, green and blue splashed across the newspapers everyday, or the ‘Brazilian World Cup special‘ products like WKD’s new drink flavour. The limited edition green, blue and yellow M&Ms, Pot noodles Brazilian flavoured BBQ steak, and the ‘throw a Brazilian flag on old packaging’ products, which Mattessons are currently stocking, then you’re probably unaware (or blind and deaf) that Brazil are hosting this year’s World Cup.
There’s a new documentary popping up every week about how chaotic brazil is. How dangerous the streets are, how Brazilians are angry and throwing rocks at Britons, unfinished stadiums, and how an increased police presence has led to a rise in the number of dead people in the favelas. Which is an extremely comforting statistic…
And just because the world isn’t scary enough, there are two more deadly threats to add to your list of things to worry about while in Brazil.
Namely, Dengue and Chikungunya.
Chikungunya may sound like a cute little dog from Mexico, but it’s neither cute nor canine. It is a viral disease that stays with you for life though. Sort of like herpes, without that gross stuff on your lips and genitals.
Chikungunya is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes and was first described during an outbreak in Tanzania in 1952. It’s name derives from a word in the kimakonde language of Tanzania , meaning ‘to become contorted’, one of the effects of the virus. It causes fever, debilitating joint pain, occasional neurological and heart complications and if you’re unlucky, death.
Dengue, another mosquito borne viral infection, is more likely to kill you and is currently on the rise. Especially in Sao Paulo, where confirmed cases of Dengue increased 23% in one week.
According to the secretary of health in SP, there have been over 8000 notifications of the illness this year, with eight dengue deaths reported and we’re only in June!
The virus causes a flu-like illness, and has grown dramatically around the world in recent decades. According to WHO over 2.5 billion people, nearly half the world’s population, are now at risk from dengue. There’s also an infection called severe dengue, (key word here being severe) which as you can imagine is not something you want to catch while on holiday in Brazil.
In Campinas, SP, where the Nigerian and Portuguese football teams practiced, 29,527 cases of dengue were confirmed. Not to mention the dengue infestation discovered in the Mane Garrincha stadium a month before the games.
Mane Garrincha is one of the twelve World Cup arenas and also the most expensive one ($900 Million!!). It has a capacity of almost 70,000 and has hosted four out of seven games so far.
Mosquito larvae was found near the goalposts, on the football pitch and even outside the stadium. Nowhere and no one is safe.
Unfortunately for my research, everybody I spoke to was responsible enough to get vaccinated, so I was unable to scare anyone into returning back to England. Neither did I get to speak to someone on their deathbed.
I did have a chat with one girl who went to Brazil unvaccinated, but she’s from Africa, which according to her, provides a natural immunity….
But if you are in Brazil or you’re heading there for the semi, quarter and final games, do get a jab. Because I don’t know about you, but I’d rather die in a crumbling stadium brought down by a Bane like force, then succumb shitting my weight away in a Brazilian public hospital.