Doctors will now be liable for hefty fines if they fail to report patients suffering from dengue fever to the authorities, the Center of Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.
The tough measures come as part of a coordinated government effort to keep the illness under control.
"We can no longer tolerate a soft approach," CDC deputy head Chou Chih-hao (
Individual doctors will face fines of between NT$90,000 (US$ 2,734) and NT$450,000 while hospitals face fines of up to NT$1,500,000.
According to Chou, patients sometimes ask doctors to keep their status hidden to avoid the hassle of being tracked and having sanitation teams come to spray their homes.
Only doctors who deliberately fail to report dengue cases will be fined.
Chou urged all doctors to be more vigilant for the signs of dengue fever in patients.
"Some patients are only diagnosed with dengue fever after four or five visits to the doctor. This is holding back our efforts to stem the disease's spread this year," Chou said.
Since the start of summer, a total of 530 dengue fever cases have been reported in the country, with 366 cases in Kaohsiung City, 151 cases in Kaohsiung County, nine cases in Pingtung County, two in Tainan County, and one each in Taipei City and Keelung City, according to CDC tallies.
Meanwhile, 10 cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever have been reported, two of which resulted in deaths.
Both fatalities occurred in Kaohsiung City, including a 76-year-old man who died on Wednesday.