"This is an epidemic. I can hardly believe that 121 people have already died this year. I would say that we are losing the war against this illness," Temporao said.
In the first nine months of the year a total of 480,000 cases have been reported in the country, a 50% increase from last year.
The Health Ministry on Tuesday launched an anti-dengue campaign aimed at checking the spread of the disease.
Dengue fever is a severe flu-like viral disease spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes, and characterized by a high fever, rash, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, and muscle and joint pain.
The disease, also known as date fever, was first recognized in the 1950s. It has reemerged in the past 20 years, becoming a major health concern due to its ability to mutate and adapt to insecticides.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some two and a half billion people - around two fifths of the world's population - are now at risk from dengue.
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