With a population of 202.77 million, there are more cases of dengue in Brazil than in any other country in the Americas. By early September, Brazil accounted for over 650,000 out of the 850,000 cases of dengue recorded in the Americas for the first eight months of 2014 according to the Pan American Health Organization.
But as the not-for-profit Oswaldo Cruz Foundation reports, these general numbers hide regional variations. And despite the sharp increase in topline figures, dengue numbers are declining in some places in Brazil.
Between January and July 2014, the state of Rio saw the number of dengue cases plummet by 97%, compared to the same period in 2013. There were just over 6,000 suspected cases of the disease in this period, compared with more than 200,000 the year before.
There’s no single answer for this shift in dengue cases. Factors such as the climate have played a part – a prolonged dry season in this part of the country had an impact on mosquito breeding patterns. But regional health authorities also claim that technology has played a part in the decline too. The introduction of a smartphone application has helped healthcare professionals track the spread of dengue and respond to outbreaks quicker.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what is contributing to shifts in the incidence of dengue, but it’s positive to see how technology is helping combat the disease.