By Mahmut Atanur
JAKARTA (AA) - At least 254 people have died in Indonesia since the beginning of this year due to dengue fever, according to local daily on Wednesday.
The number of dengue cases in the country has reached 39,876, the Tempo daily quoted Siti Nadia Tarmizi, the director for vector-borne and zoonotic diseases in the Health Ministry, as saying.
Tarmizi said that the West Java province on the island and East Nusa Tenggara, the southernmost province of Indonesia, are the "red zone" for dengue fever.
In Indonesia, dengue fever claimed 1,598 lives in 2016, 493 lives in 2017, and 344 lives in 2018.
Mosquitoes carrying malaria and dengue appear more frequently in Indonesia especially in the rainy season between October and April, while scientists warn high temperatures and prolonged rains cause an increase in mosquitoes breeding.
Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection, which is found in tropical and sub-tropical climates worldwide, mostly in urban and semi-urban areas.
The infection causes flu-like illness, and occasionally develops into a potentially lethal complication called severe dengue, according to the World Health Organization.
* Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev from Ankara