Brazil in dengue epidemic: Health minister

Updated: 2015-05-15 16:43


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BRASILIA - Brazilian Health Minister Arthur Chioro confirmed Thursday that the country is suffering a dengue epidemic, with 745,957 confirmed cases so far this year, a 234.2 percent increase over the same period of 2014.

"Of course, technically we are going through an epidemic," admitted Chioro, referring to the World Health Organization's criteria that it is considered an epidemic when there are 300 confirmed cases for every 100,000 people.

Early this month, Chioro denied the epidemic, and claimed that the situation was endemic, but with an increase in the number of cases.

Despite the high number, the occurrence of the disease is 48 percent less than the number registered in 2013, when in the same period there were 1.4 million confirmed cases.

In the first 15 weeks of 2015, 229 deaths caused by dengue were confirmed, a 45 percent increase compared to the same period of the previous year and a drop of 39.6 percent from the same period of 2013.

The states that registered the largest numbers of confirmed cases are Sao Paulo with 169, Goias with 15, and Parana and Minas Gerais with 8 deaths each.

Dengue fever is an epidemic viral disease transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which breeds in stagnant water. It can cause flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever and joint pain.