Health officials in Brazil say they are seeing the most deaths due to influenza A (H1N1) since 2009, the year of the worldwide pandemic, Brazilian media reported Thursday (computer translated).

Through June 25, Brazil has reported 1,233 deaths due to H1N1 influenza with 112 deaths reported in just the past week.

More than 6500 H1N1 influenza cases have been reported in Brazil this year. 700 were reported in the past week.

São Paulo has seen 517 deaths due to the influenza strain alone, accounting for more than four out of 10 fatalities nationwide.

Sao Paulo/joelfotos
Sao Paulo/joelfotos

In addition to deaths caused by H1N1 influenza, more than 100 deaths were linked to other strains of influenza, the health ministry reports.

Last year, Brazil reported 36 H1N1 related fatalities for the whole year.

During the pandemic year of 2009, 2,060 people died from the virus in Brazil.

Scientists say the virus arrived earlier than anticipated this year, leaving many people vulnerable having not been vaccinated.

Why did the virus arrive early? The answer to that question is not clear; however, experts speculate the virus may have arrived via international travel from the northern hemisphere.