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Opinion
Mac Margolis

Brazilians Spraying and Praying for Dengue Vaccine Breakthrough

Brazil has had a rough year. But help could be around the corner.
Yeah, a vaccine might be good.

Yeah, a vaccine might be good.

Photographer: Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images

A cup of cloves, a half-liter of alcohol and a dollop of body oil: You won't find this homemade mosquito repellent in Brazilian drugstores, but the recipe went viral after a worried sanitarian posted a cell phone video on Facebook last week.

Amid one of their worst outbreaks of dengue fever -- 460,000 people infected and 132 dead this year -- Brazilians are understandably jumpy. That humming sound is aedes aegypti, a familiar pest storied for spreading yellow fever throughout tropical America and now enjoying a comeback as the vector for what has become a 21st-century pandemic.