The zoo, the Botanical Garden and the Zoo Safari, in the southern part of the city of São Paulo, were closed this Tuesday (Jan. 23) to avoid the risk of contamination with yellow fever. On Monday (Jan. 22), the Health Department of the State of São Paulo confirmed that a howler monkey found dead in the area was infected with the virus.
The same measure had been taken in the case of three public parks in the northern part of the city, which remained closed for visitors for more than two months and were only reopened last January 10.
Sick monkeys, although do not transmit the disease, are a marker of the virus circulation. Primates are the main hosts of the virus, but the only transmission vectors are the mosquitoes. In wildlife, the mosquitoes bite the monkeys which, once infected with the virus, can be bitten by another vector that, for its turn, transmits the disease to humans.
The city starts today the home distribution of passwords for vaccination in 16 districts of the southern and eastern areas. With the passwords, residents can go to basic health units to be vaccinated. At this stage, fractional doses of the vaccine, effective for at least eight years, will be applied only after health agents have visited the residents' houses.
The campaign, initially slated to begin in February, was anticipated for this Thursday (Jan. 24), São Paulo's birthday and municipal holiday.
According to the Health Department's last assessment, released on Friday (Jan. 19), 81 persons have been infected with the yellow fever virus since January 2017, of which 36 died of the disease. The previous assessment reported 40 cases and 21 deaths.
Translated by Mariana Branco