The number of dengue fever cases reported in Sri Lanka in 2016 was the most seen in a number of years and nearly double 2015 numbers, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

Sri Lanka/CIA
Sri Lanka/CIA

Last year, 54,945 dengue fever cases were reported. This compared to 29,777 in 2015.

The Colombo district recorded 16,767 cases, or more than 30 percent of the country total.

This was followed by Gampaha, Kandy, Kalutara and Ratnapura districts rounding out the top five.

Sri Lankan health officials no longer report dengue-related fatalities. One local media account reports the death toll at 77.

The start of 2017 has seen 1,311 dengue fever cases to date.

Dengue infects nearly 400 million people across more than 120 countries each year. Most survive with few or no symptoms, but more than two million annually develop what can be a dangerous dengue hemorrhagic fever, which kills more than 25,000 people each year.

Dengue can cause a high fever, severe headaches, severe pain behind the eyes, rash and joint, muscle or bone pain. Dengue hemorrhagic fever occurs when blood leaks from blood vessels into other parts of the body, which can lead to failure of the circulatory system, shock and possibly death, without prompt treatment.