Dengue risk forecasted for soccer World Cup in Brazil

The highest risk for a dengue fever outbreak during the 2014 soccer World Cup is in the Brazilian cities of Recife, Fortaleza and Natal. The lowest risk is in Brasília, Cuiabá, Curitiba, Porto Alegre and São Paulo, according to a new early warning system.

Marcello Casal Jr/ABr/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0 BR)

Twelve cities in Brazil are gearing up to host World Cup soccer games in just a few weeks, and part of that preparation includes preventing outbreaks of dengue fever. A new early warning system estimates that the risk of an outbreak is highest for the host cities of Recife, Fortaleza and Natal, researchers report May 17 in Lancet Infectious Diseases. A city is labeled high risk if more than 300 cases per 100,000 inhabitants are predicted in a month for a region.

The forecast, which provides warnings of dengue epidemics up to three months in advance, could help with planning intervention strategies to prevent outbreaks, the researchers write.

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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