Sneaky Stowaways

A spate of development projects in the 1990s brought scores of jobs to Brazil’s Acre State—and by 2000, the region’s first-ever dengue outbreak. Within 10 years the sub-1 million population saw 35,000 cases, finds new research published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Dengue, with an impact that can range from flu-like symptoms to death, can top hundreds of thousands of annual cases year in Brazil. But its vector, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, averted Acre until ambitious road projects and new flights arrived, creating a fertile breeding ground for the vector, which likely snuck in on vehicles or boats hauling food and construction materials.

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