Thu, Jul 15, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Alarm sounded for dengue fever

By Wang Hsiao-wen  /  STAFF WRITER

After one more locally-contracted case of dengue fever was reported in Pingtung City on Tuesday, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) expanded its clean-up campaign in a bid to nip a possible epidemic in the bud.

Over 70 districts in the south have now been listed as high-risk areas. The Deparemnt of Health's latest figure shows that five counties (Kaohsiung, Pingtung, Chiayi, Penghu and Taitung) and Kaohsiung City are vulnerable to the disease. According to the CDC, an alarming number of the mosquitoes that transmit the virus have been found in samples collected in the listed counties.

"We have found 35 adult Aedes mosquitoes in 84 households in Pingtung County's Changan borough [where dengue fever was first reported]. This high index only occurs at a severe stage," said Wu Ping-fuai (吳炳輝), director of the Department of Health's quarantine division.

Wu said these communities are a hotbed for the types of mosquito that transmit dengue virus. Vacant ground and uninhabited houses became a breeding ground after heavy rains brought by Tropical Storm Mindulle filled discarded jars and bins with stagnant water. Taiwan's summer temperatures between 25oC and 30oC also provide ideal conditions for the spread of the disease.

Wu said public participation was essential to beat dengue fever.

"We have fumigated Changan, but we need the community's help. The health department, with its limited manpower, can only disinfect the environment for a period of time. People must be spontaneous and persistent in keeping their environment clean," Wu said.

According to the health department's latest statistics, four of the 39 cases of dengue fever reported this year were attributable to local infections.

The department urged residents in the listed counties to seek medical treatment if they experience symptoms such as muscular pain, headaches or rashes.

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