The dengue epidemic in Brazil is becoming increasingly widespread. Since the beginning of the year, 5.1 million confirmed and probable infections with the dengue virus have been registered in the South American country, the Ministry of Health announced. This is the worst dengue outbreak in Brazilian history. In the previous largest epidemic in 2015, around 1.6 million dengue cases were counted throughout the year.

So far, 2,827 deaths due to dengue infection have been confirmed, according to the Ministry of Health. 2,712 additional suspected cases are currently being investigated.

The heavy rains and high temperatures of the past few months are likely to be the trigger for the sharp increase. The yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti), which transmits the dengue viruses, can develop particularly well under these conditions.

Dengue fever – sometimes called “bone-breaking disease” because of the pain – is widespread in the tropics and subtropics. However, the course of the disease is often mild and not everyone infected becomes ill.