Fri, Mar 13, 2015 - Page 3 News List

CDC warns visitors to Southeast Asia of dengue epidemic

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday urged people planning to visit certain Southeast Asian nations to step up their anti-mosquito measures as dengue epidemics continue to grip the region.

CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said that as of Tuesday, the number of imported cases of dengue fever this year had reached 44, higher than that recorded during the same period in the past five years — 31 cases last year, 43 in 2013, 29 in 2012, 20 in 2011 and 34 in 2010.

“The majority, or 26, of the 44 cases originated from Indonesia, followed by six cases from Vietnam, five from Malaysia, three from Brazil, two from the Philippines, and one each from Thailand and the Maldives,” Chuang said.

Nearly 5,500 cases of dengue fever were reported in Indonesia in January, more than half of which occurred in East Java, Chuang said, adding that Malaysia had seen approximately 28,000 dengue fever cases as of Tuesday, 1.5 times the number recorded in the same period last year.

Chuang said that while Singapore has seen the number of dengue fever cases recorded in the first two months of this year fall by 37 percent compared with the same time period last year, it is still twice the average number reported in the past five years.

“The upward trend is also observed in Vietnam, where a total 5,200 dengue fever cases had been confirmed as of last month, up 27 percent from the same period last year,” Chuang said.

Chuang advised people heading to the affected nations to apply government-certified mosquito repellent on exposed skin and wear light-colored, long-sleeved clothes and trousers to prevent mosquito bites.

Meanwhile, 125 students and one faculty member from Tzu Chi Senior High School affiliated with Tzu Chi University in Hualien sought medical attention after they experienced vomiting, diarrhea or dizziness on Wednesday.

School authorities said they were diagnosed with acute gastroenteritis and influenza.

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