Brazil hit by dengue outbreak

Brazil's Health Minister Alexandre Padilha recently said that his country has been hit by an outbreak of dengue fever.

Padilha said that the number of cases confirmed in the first seven weeks of 2013 reached 204,640. The large number of cases represents a 190 percent increase from the same time last year, according to

"There's no doubt that we have an epidemic of dengue fever, (as) we have in every summer," Padilha said, reports.

Padiha said that 83 percent of the new cases are concentrated primarily in eight states, but he added that other states need to continue with campaigns against the mosquito-borne illness. The state of Matte Grosso, located in the midwest region, has the highest number of cases, with 42,015.

Though the number of total cases appears higher this year, the number of fatalities due to the illness is actually down. There have been 33 dengue-related deaths in Brazil, compared with 41 during the same period in 2012. Padhia said that the declining death rate is most likely due to better treatment and reduced wait time for both treatment and diagnosis, reports.

Padiha said that the highest number of infections have come from type-4 dengue, which was not discovered in Brazil until 2011. There are four known dengue types. Infection with one type confers immunity for life. Dengue type-4 is new to Brazil, and most Brazilians are still susceptible to it.