As a result of Taiwan’s proximity to South Asia and unusual rainfall this year, health authorities are on a high state of alert over a possible serious outbreak of dengue fever, Department of Health (DOH) Minister Yaung Chih-liang (楊志良) said yesterday.
Describing dengue fever as “the biggest threat” to Taiwanese among all infectious diseases, Yaung said it was highly unlikely the nation would be spared this year.
Outbreaks of swine flu, seasonal influenza, enterovirus and NDM-1 were also likely, he told a press conference after the weekly Cabinet meeting where he presented a proposal for disease prevention measures.
“The number of cases of dengue fever this year could be more than 600, or even 1,000. The dengue fever epidemic is severe,” he said.
The Department of Health said the number of confirmed indigenous cases of dengue fever has reached 284 so far this year, with most of the cases in Kaohsiung and Tainan city and county, while the number of imported dengue infections rose to 227, mainly from Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand.
Last year, the number of confirmed cases was 848, of which 204 came from abroad, it said.
The number of cases increased abruptly in the south after Typhoon Fanapi hit on Sept. 19, Yaung said, so on Sunday he went to Kaohsiung to review epidemic prevention work in the area.
Yaung said the department had set aside NT$1.44 million (US$46,000) for the Kaohsiung city and county governments to hire additional personnel to eradicate mosquito breeding grounds, and would continue to provide additional funding to local governments for such operations.
Additional reporting by CNA
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