Brazil's health ministry says the number of dengue cases in Latin America's biggest country has started to decline after rising sharply in the first three months of the year.
Jarbas Barbosa is the head of the ministry's health vigilance department. He says the number of people diagnosed with dengue came to 635,000 between January and March, up from 167,000 during the same period in 2012.
He said Wednesday that despite this rise, the number of deaths caused by the disease dropped from 1,316 last year to 1,243 in 2013. He said this is because municipal health authorities were better prepared to deal with the disease.
Symptoms of mosquito-borne disease include high fever, headaches, and severe muscle and joint pain. Its hemorrhagic strain is potentially fatal.