RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Dengue fever, zika virus and chikungunya killed 796 people in Brazil in 2016, the country's Health Ministry said on Monday.
Until Dec. 24, the country registered 629 deaths caused by dengue, 159 by chikungunya and six by zika virus, a slight decrease from 2015, when the three diseases caused 1,001 deaths in the country. Compared with 2015, deaths caused by dengue fell but those by chikungunya increased in 2016.
In 2016, Brazil had 1.49 million suspected cases of dengue, 265,000 of chikungunya and 214,000 of zika.
The number of suspected dengue cases in 2016 was the second highest since 1990. In 2015, the country registered a record high of 1.64 million suspected cases, with the highest number registered in the midwestern and southeastern regions.
Chikungunya cases rose 589 percent compared with 2015. Unlike dengue, chikungunya and zika have only been registered in Brazil recently.
The first chikungunya case was registered in the country in 2014. Therefore, the majority of the population is vulnerable as there are no antibodies against the disease.
Zika was first registered in Brazil in 2015 and became more prominent because of its effects on pregnant women, whose babies can have several malformations, mainly microcephaly.