Brazilian health authorities on Monday (13 January) began a mass vaccination campaign against meningitis -- the killer virus affecting the brain and spinal cord which claimed over 2,000 lives in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo during last year's epidemic.
GV People queuing outside vaccination centre
SV Police by queue
SV People receiving mass vaccinations (2 shots)
SV Small boy crying
SV Small girl receiving vaccination (2 shots)
SVS Minister being vaccinated
SV Woman in swim suit vaccinated
SVS People having vaccination dressed
Initials ET/1757 ET/1812
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Background: Brazilian health authorities on Monday (13 January) began a mass vaccination campaign against meningitis -- the killer virus affecting the brain and spinal cord which claimed over 2,000 lives in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo during last year's epidemic.
Priority in the campaign has been given to Rio de Janeiro, where it is hoped to vaccinate at least eighty per cent of the 4.5 million population in preparation for next month's national Carnival. Among those who queued at the specially set-up vaccination centres throughout the city was Brazilian Health Minister, Mr Paulo de Almeida Machado, who launched the campaign.
With a current monthly meningitis death toll of 40 to 50, and an average 10 more cases reported daily, the Ria de Janeiro medical authorities are particularly anxious to immunise those most vulnerable to the disease-- the young, the old, the undernourished and those Who live in overcrowded conditions. But meningitis is no respecter of class or economic situation -- as the virulence of the Sao Paulo outbreak illustrated last year. In addition, the disease could have a strong effect on tourism and has already caused the 1975 Pan -American Games to be transferred from Brazil.
To cope with the spread of the virus, the Brazilian Government has imported from France 60 million doses of vaccine, effective against both a and C??e meningitis virus types. Unfortunately, the vaccine does not ensure complete immunity....limited tests in Brazil have given a success rate of only 75 per cent.
The goal of the health authorities is to vaccinate at least 60 per cent of Brazil's 100 million population within the next six months---ready for June -- the danger month when the Sao Paulo outbreak began to reach its peak last year.
SYNOPSIS: A nationwide vaccination campaign against the killer disease meningitis was launched in Brazil on Monday. The campaign began in Rio de Janeiro -- scene of next month's spectacular Carnival.
Last year, over two thousand people died from meningitis in Brazil's largest city Sao Paulo. Health authorities are anxious to contain the present outbreak in Rio de Janeiro before it reaches epidemic proportions.
Young children are among those most vulnerable to the fatal meningitis virus which attacks the brain and spinal cord. Special efforts are being made to immunise children as soon as possible.
Setting an example to all as the campaign opened was Brazilian health Minister Paulo de Almeida Machado.
The Carnival next month increases the threat of further outbreaks of meningitis in other parts of Brazil. The authorities hope to have sixty per cent of the country's hundred million population treated before June.... the danger month for epidemic outbreaks. Tests in Brazil have shown that the imported French vaccine has a success rate of around seventy-five per cent.