Brazil launching plan to combat dengue fever

With 16 out of 27 Brazilian states at risk, Alexandre Padilla, the health Minister of Brazil, announced that the government of Brazil plans to allocate $640 million as part of a contingency plan to combat dengue.

The government will focus on the 16 states that are at high-risk for a dengue fever epidemic in the next few months and create partnerships with local entrepreneurs and officials to combat the disease, Xinhua reports.

During all of 2010, Brazil recorded around one million cases of dengue fever in the country, leading to the deaths of 550 people. Of the total cases, 15,500 were considered serious ones.

Dengue fever is a possibly life threatening disease caused by one of four viruses that spread from Aedes mosquitoes. One of the forms, known as Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, is one of the major causes of the illness in the subtropics and tropics.

According to the Rio Times, over one-third of the population of the world lives in areas that are at risk for transmission of dengue fever. There is still no vaccine or effective cure for the virus.

A smaller epidemic occurred in 2008, when the state of Rio de Janeiro reported 55,000 dengue fever cases that led to the deaths of at least 67 people.

"We want to avoid the situation that occurred last year and prevent deaths and cases of the disease," Padilla said, according to Xinhua.