Brazil's Health Minister Arthur Chioro on Thursday (14 May) said the country was "technically" facing a dengue fever epidemic.

The country of more than 200m people had registered 745,957 cases of the mosquito-borne virus from 1 January through 18 April, the latest time period for which numbers have been made available.

The figure amounts to 367.8 cases per 100,000 residents, surpassing the World Health Organization's definition for an epidemic of 300 cases per 100,000.

The growing dengue crisis in Brazil has for months been popularly termed an "epidemic" in the media.

"The term we use in looking for a parameter to define when a city, state or country has a dengue 'epidemic' is when the number of cases surpasses 300 per 100,000 inhabitants. Right now we are at 367.8 (cases per 100,000 residents). Therefore, conceptually, we have surpassed the limit of 300 that we use and therefore we can technically confirm that we are seeing an 'epidemic,'" Chioro said.

Areas throughout the entire South American country are being walloped with Dengue. The hardest hit states are Acre in the west with 1,064.8 cases per 100,000; Goais in the centre with 968.9 per 100,000 and Sao Paulo with 911.9 cases per 100,000 residents.

Though the number of cases this year is 234.2 percent higher than those registered in 2014, Chioro said it is still below the number of cases reported at this point in 2013 when there were 1.4m confirmed cases.

"This year, up until now, up to the week of 15 (April), which is the last I am releasing information for, we have an increase of 44 percent compared to 2014, in deaths. But if we look at the year 2013, which was a year in which we had a worse epidemic compared to this year, we have seen a reduction of 48 percent (in deaths)," said Chioro .

Dengue is characterised by a high fever above 40C, which develops along with severe muscle and joint pains. There is no cure for the virus and treatment is focused on relieving symptoms, in particular through hydration.