BRASILIA, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Since the start of 2017, Brazil has registered around 550 suspected cases of yellow fever, with the epidemic mainly focused in the central state of Minas Gerais, according to the Health Ministry.
In a statement Thursday, the Ministry said 502 cases had been founded in Minas Gerais, 33 in Espirito Santo, seven in Bahia, three in Sao Paulo, one in Goias and one in Mato Grosso do Sul.
At the moment, 72 cases have been confirmed, 23 have been rejected and 455 remain under investigation.
This epidemic of yellow fever is estimated to have killed 105 people so far, including 98 in Minas Gerais alone. Of these deaths, 40 are confirmed to have been caused by the illness, with the rest still under investigation.
These fatalities have all happened in the first three weeks of 2017.
The yellow fever virus is transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which also spreads chikungunya and the Zika virus.
However, no cases of yellow fever had been registered in Brazilian urban centers since the 1940s.
On Wednesday, the Health Ministry announced it was releasing 11.5 million new doses of yellow fever vaccine, up from a 1 million annual doses on average.
The government has also closed four natural reserves, Pedra Azul, Forno Grande, Mata das Flores and Cachoeira da Fumaça, to stop the further spread of the virus.