In recent weeks several messages have been circulating on social networks, websites and WhatsApp associating the yellow fever outbreak in Brazil to the collapse of the Fundão dam. One of the most shared posts originates from the Mello Leitão Museum and states that, according to the biologist Andre Ruschi, the outbreak is related to the alleged lack of mosquito predators such as fish and frogs on the banks of the Doce River.
Recently, the Professor Mello Leitão Museum of Biology in Espírito Santo released on their official Facebook page that the rumor published on behalf of the institution is false. The official statement says: “The Facebook profile “Mello Museum Leitão” has no relation to the National Institute of the Atlantic Forest (INMA) – the new name of the Prof. Mello Leitão Museum of Biology. This is a fake profile, which uses an inverted name of the Mello Leitão Museum, as it is also known, appearing to be information from the Museum. Any of the material published there does not originate from or expresses the opinion of INMA or people who represent it”. An article appeared on this matter in the newspaper Jornal Extra, on February 08, 2017.
Another institution to position itself recently on the matter is the Federal University of Ouro Preto (UFOP), which published an article on its website discarding the possibility that the current outbreak is a result of the mud that invaded the Doce River after the dam collapse, since the relationship would only exist if the waste had entered the forests in the regions affected by the virus, which did not happen.
The text also mentions the panel held on January 19 and 20, 2017, by the Renova Foundation in Belo Horizonte (MG), which included the participation of several experts, among them the biologist and professor of ecology UFOP, Sérvio Ribeiro. According to the professor the affected forests were in the Mariana region where there are no cases of the disease. In the middle and lower part of the Doce River, areas that are naturally dense and humid forests, the mud remained on the river banks and had no strength to cause deforestation.