The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Tuesday announced eight new cases of indigenous dengue fever, urging the public to take precautions, as the mosquito-borne disease has already entered its peak season.
The eight cases included men and women aged between 18 and 76 living in Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung, the centers said in a statement.
As dengue fever patients display flu-like symptoms, a correct diagnosis can take longer than expected, centers Deputy Director-General Chou Chih-hao (周志浩) said.
“Of the eight new confirmed cases, seven went to hospitals two to five times before being correctly diagnosed,” he said.
Doctors are therefore urged to obtain patients’ travel history and medical records to help them make a diagnosis, he added.
There have been 48 cases of indigenous dengue fever since May, and all of the patients reside in the south.
With dengue fever entering its peak season, people should monitor and clean up potential mosquito-breeding sites near their home to prevent transmission of the disease, he said.
In related news, Chou said that eight new cases of enterovirus 71 (EV71) infection were reported last week. EV71 is a picornavirus associated with fatal neurological illness in infants and young children.
Seven of the patients, aged between eight months and 12 years, have been discharged from hospital after treatment. A one-year-old boy from northern Taiwan remains hospitalized.
As of Monday, there have been 117 severe cases of enterovirus infection, of which 114 were EV71 cases. In June, a five-month-old boy became the first person in the country to succumb to the contagious disease this year.
Chou said parents should instill in their children the habit of washing their hands frequently to reduce the risk of infection.
He also urged parents to seek immediate medical attention should their children develop symptoms including drowsiness, weakness, muscle spasms, vomiting or increased heartbeat.