Dengue cases in Brazil rose by 57% in January, an increase that the Brazilian government partially attributed to the water crisis in the country's southeastern region. In the first four weeks of the year, Brazil registered 40,196 cases of dengue, compared with 26,017 in the same period of 2014, the Brazilian Health Ministry said.
Health Minister Arthur Chioro said the water shortage has led many people to store water in their homes out of fear that their supply could be cut off at any time, which in turn creates breeding grounds for the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries dengue fever and the chikungunya virus.
It's unquestionable that the drought-created water shortage increases the risk of the Aedes aegypti mosquito proliferating to the extent that people store water without protecting it, the minister said in a statement cited in local media.
Chioro expressed his concern about the rising number of dengue cases, particularly since the main breeding season tends to be in March and April.
The number of dengue cases increased during a time of the year when they shouldn't increase, the minister said.
Brazil's southeastern region, affected by a drought that has led some of its cities to impose water rationing, registered its highest number of cases in January - 22,636 - an increase of 55.3 percent over the same period last year.
Nonetheless, the number of serious cases of dengue went from 49 to 14 in the first four weeks of 2015, a 71% reduction, while deaths from the disease were down 84% in the period.