RIO DE JANEIRO Ė The number of Brazilian municipalities considered to be at-risk areas for dengue fever has jumped 228.5 percent over the past 13 years, from 1,753 in 1995 to 4,006 in 2008, the press reported Sunday, citing Health Ministry figures.
Dengue, which in 1995 was only a threat for isolated and sparsely populated municipalities, has spread almost all over the country by now and is particularly dangerous in the cities with their large concentrations of people, the O Globo newspaper said.
The geographic area threatened by dengue increased almost 2.3 times in the last 13 years and represents two-thirds of Brazilian territory.
Currently, the only regions that are free of the disease are the southernmost states and some isolated regions in the Amazon.
While in 1995 there were 50,000 registered cases of the disease and two deaths, those numbers skyrocketed in 2002, the worst year for the disease, to 697,900 cases and 150 deaths.
Despite the fact that the number of cases so far this year is 49 percent lower than during the same period in 2008, when the city of Rio de Janeiro experienced its worst epidemic with more than 100 deaths, currently there are 2,040 new cases registered each day, on average, in Brazil.
Every 48 hours, a Brazilian dies of the disease.
In the first 100 days of this year, there were 226,500 cases and 46 deaths.
Those figures, in all likelihood, will grow due to the fact that health conditions around the country favor an increase in the population of the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits dengue and reproduces in standing water.
Only 48.9 percent of Brazilian households have access to the countryís public sanitation system and 63 percent of the countryís municipalities do not have adequate sites to dump refuse.