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NEW DELHI (Sputnik) – The Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has ordered schools to close as it struggles to contain the outbreak of a viral fever of unknown origin, the Hindustan Times reported Monday.

“The cause of the spike in cases is still under investigation, but the symptoms resemble those of dengue,” Amit Mohan Prasad, additional chief state secretary (health), told India TV.

Schools will remain closed until September 6 for students in grades 1 to 8.

Seventy people, including 12 children, are believed to have died from this mysterious disease. Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh however denied the information, saying 32 children and seven adults had died.

Most of the fever carriers suffered from high temperature, dehydration and low platelet count. Symptoms similar to those of dengue fever, such as fever, strong headache, muscle pain, nausea and enlarged lymph nodes, have been detected in some of those infected.

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne viral infection that is widespread in Southeast Asia. There is no specific treatment for the disease, and only those who have had the disease in the past can be vaccinated against it. The global incidence of dengue has increased dramatically in recent decades. About half of the world’s population is now at risk. There are around 100 to 400 million infections each year, according to the World Health Organization.

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