Tue, Nov 07, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Health minister defends record on dengue fever

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

The Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday that no effort had been spared in working to tackle the outbreak of dengue fever in southern Taiwan since the beginning of this summer.

Department Minister Hou Sheng-mao (侯勝茂) made the remarks at the Legislative Yuan in response to a request by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hou Tsai-feng (侯彩鳳) and the KMT's candidate in the Kaohsiung mayoral election, Huang Chun-ying (黃俊英), for a "dedicated effort" in controlling the outbreak in Kaohsiung and Pingtung counties.

Both asked Hou Sheng-mao to visit the worst affected areas of Kaohsiung City more often than he has in order to fight the epidemic alongside city residents.

Legislator Hou noted that 10 of Kaohsiung City's 11 districts have been affected by dengue fever, calling it a worrisome situation and saying that relevant authorities should apologize for their inability to control the outbreak more efficiently.

Since the start of this summer, a total of 575 dengue fever cases have been reported in the country, with 404 cases in Kaohsiung City, 156 cases in Kaohsiung County, nine cases in Pingtung County, two in Tainan County, two in Tainan City, and one each in Taipei County and Keelung City, according to the latest statistics from the Center for Disease Control.

Meanwhile, 14 cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever have been reported, two of which were fatal.

Minister Hou said that since the Executive Yuan set up a command center to coordinate efforts against dengue fever on Oct. 1, none of the relevant officials had taken any time off from work, noting that he himself had traveled to southern Taiwan three times since the center was established.

Furthermore, the Ministry of National Defense had also dispatched a chemical corps to the affected region to assist in disinfection work aimed at wiping out virus-carrying mosquitoes, the health minister added.

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