Black and brown women are most affected by dengue – 02/23/2024 – Balance and Health

Black and brown women are most affected by dengue – 02/23/2024 – Balance and Health


Black and brown women are the population group with the highest number of probable cases of dengue in 2024 in Brazil. The data comes from the Ministry of Health’s disease monitoring panel.

The group represents 26% of Brazilians suspected of having the disease, accounting for 193.2 thousand of the total of almost 741 thousand probable cases of dengue recorded as of this Friday afternoon (23). Probable records are those in which individuals have two or more symptoms of the disease.

This year alone, 151 people have died from dengue fever and 501 deaths are being investigated.

In particular, women most at risk of infection by the virus are those aged 30 to 39, followed by 40 to 49 and 50 to 59.

In the last week, probable cases represented an increase of 294% compared to the same period in 2023, the year in which the country broke a record for deaths from the disease. The Ministry of Health projected that Brazil could reach 4.2 million cases by the end of the year.

As a whole, women make up 55.1% of likely registrations. Dengue has increased concern for pregnant women, a group with four times the risk of death. In these cases, there is also a three times greater chance of death of the fetus or baby. Pregnant women, even with mild symptoms of the disease, should be hospitalized for monitoring, according to Sogesp (Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the State of São Paulo).

The brown population has a greater expression among the probable cases. That’s 42% of the total records. If added to the black population, they total 47.7% of cases (354,153). Whites represent 34.5%.

The racial group least affected by dengue is the indigenous, with 0.22%.

According to researcher Rita Helena Borret, a family doctor who studies the health of the black population at SBMFC (Brazilian Society of Family and Community Medicine Entity), the higher incidence of dengue in the group is a result of the lack of preventive work throughout the year in vulnerable territories.

“To combat the dengue mosquito, we need effective action from the State throughout the year in vulnerable territories, looking at potential dengue outbreaks, because the rains come in the summer. Black women are the majority in situations of more vulnerable homes, which are places where there are more dengue outbreaks”, he says.

Transmission of the dengue virus depends on the host mosquito, the Aedes aegypti, whose breeding occurs more easily in humid environments and high temperatures. The female mosquito lays her eggs on the edges of containers with standing water. Boxes, barrels, water barrels, bottles, tires, plastic bags, poorly discarded garbage and potted plants become breeding grounds.

The outskirts of large cities, in particular, are favorable places for mosquito breeding, according to Rivaldo Venâncio da Cunha, researcher at Fiocruz (Fundação Oswaldo Cruz).

“The irregularity in the supply of water for domestic use causes the population to store it in objects that are often not adequately sealed. In the outskirts, there is also a historical deficiency in the collection of garbage, the accumulation of which serves to store water. There are urban spaces that are more privileged than others”, he states.

The 2013 National Health Survey, a partnership between IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) and the Ministry of Health, already showed a high rate of dengue fever among women: 14.3% said they had been infected by the virus, a figure higher than the average national figure indicated in the study, 12.9%. Among blacks and browns, the rate was 14.8% in both cases.


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