A second death this year from imported dengue fever has been confirmed, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday, urging people to take measures to repel mosquitoes when traveling in Southeast Asia.
A 37-year-old woman from northern Taiwan in August experienced fever and muscle and joint pain six days after returning to Taiwan from a group tour to northern Vietnam, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said.
“On the seventh day of treatment at a hospital, the woman died of septic shock,” he said, adding that she was the second Taiwanese to die of imported dengue fever this year.
The woman did not have chronic diseases and had never before contracted dengue fever, Lo said.
Although most young people infected with dengue fever only experience mild symptoms, there is a chance that the virus could activate an excessive immune response and cause damage to tissues and organs, he said.
The woman still had symptoms, including dizziness, difficulty breathing and chest pain when she was hospitalized, the CDC said, adding that reviews have confirmed that the death was linked to dengue fever.
The 20 people who were in close contact with the woman during the group tour did not show dengue-like symptoms, it said.
“Although there were only three indigenous dengue cases reported this year, it does not mean that the risk of infection is lower, because there have been many imported cases reported this year — more than 200 so far,” CDC Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) said.
Four cases of imported dengue were reported last week, and of the cases reported in the past month, most were from Vietnam, according to CDC statistics.
As of Sunday, 229 imported cases and three indigenous cases have been reported this year, it said.
People traveling to Southeast Asian countries where dengue fever is spreading should wear light-colored and long-sleeve clothing and apply insect repellent on exposed skin to prevent mosquito bites, Lo said, adding that they should seek immediate medical attention and report their travel history if they experience fevers, headaches, muscle and joint pain, back eye-socket pain or rashes.
People should check all containers in and near their house and remove all standing water at least once a week to reduce the potential for mosquito breeding, Chu said.
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