Health officials affirm two deathly cases of dengue fever in Brazil city

Health officials confirmed two people have died from dengue fever here since December, causing fears of a new epidemic of the sometimes fatal tropical disease. A 52-year-old man died from the from the most serious strain of the disease on Dec. 23, and on Thursday the municipal health secretariat confirmed that a 45-year-old patient died from dengue on Jan. 9. It did not provide the patient's name or sex.

So far this year, 261 cases of the disease have been reported, more than the 246 cases reported in the city during the first six months of 2005, the secretariat said.

In 2002, a dengue epidemic claimed at least 50 lives and infected more than 160,000 across Brazil.

Dengue, transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, causes severe headaches and joint pains but is usually not deadly and most sufferers recover within a week.

The more serious hemorrhagic strain has a fatality rate of 5 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is no vaccine.

The city has ordered 500 firefighters to join health workers in spraying against mosquitos and eliminating standing water where the insects breed, reports the AP.


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