Twelve more people died from dengue fever in Rio de Janeiro state, raising to 79 the death toll from the start of the year and to 75,399 the infections by the mosquito-borne disease, health authorities said Wednesday.
In the past week, 12 people died and more than 18,000 new infections were reported throughout the eastern state, Rio's Health Ministry said.
Another 80 deaths are being investigated to see if they were caused by dengue fever, whose symptoms are high temperatures and muscle aches. In extreme cases, hemorrhage and death can follow.
The tourist city of Rio was worst hit by dengue, with 44 reported deaths since Wednesday last week, with another 33 reported elsewhere in the state. The city also has the highest infection rate of the region.
Rio Governor Sergio Cabral recently said he may appeal to Cuba for doctors to help treat patients, many of whom have been sent to tent hospitals set up by the army to cope with the large number of people affected.
Around 1,200 military personnel have joined health service staff in fumigating areas that may contain mosquito colonies.
Children are especially at risk from dengue fever. No vaccine is yet commercially available.