RIO DE JANEIRO - Health officials in Brazil said Tuesday a record 693 people have died so far this year after contracting dengue fever, the deadly mosquito-borne disease running rampant across Central and South America.

Most of the deaths occurred in Sao Paulo state, according to a statement from the federal health ministry, which said the deaths were the most since 1990, when officials began compiling records tracking the number of people infected with the ailment.

Deaths from the illness doubled from 327 in 2012 to a record 674 in 2013, though last year they dropped to 410.

The number of fatalities in the first eight months of this year topped by some 70 percent those in the same period of 2014, according to the bulletin released by the ministry.

The report also indicated that the number of critical dengue cases in the period was 1,284, compared with 664 between January and August last year.

Sao Paulo, the state with the largest population in Brazil, has been more affected by dengue this year, with 403 deaths up to the month of August, compared with 86 in the same period last year, and 585 critical cases in comparison with the 187 in the first eight months of 2014.

According to the bulletin, the approximate number of probable cases of dengue in Brazil up to the end of August was 1.42 million, very close to the record-setting 1.45 million in 2013.

Meanwhile in April, the rainiest month of the year, the incidence of dengue in Brazil reached 216.5 cases for every 100,000 inhabitants, a rate that gradually began to diminish thanks to the onset of the dry season, until it fell to 8.7 cases for every 100,000 inhabitants in August.