Thu, Jun 20, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Premier approves dengue fever funds for Kaohsiung

HOTBED:Heat and torrential rain have made it harder to combat the disease this year, so the CDC has called on the public to eradicate mosquito breeding grounds

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

A pest control contractor fumigates an unoccupied building at a Marine Corps base in Kaohsiung yesterday to exterminate mosquitoes that could spread dengue fever.

Photo: Chang Chung-i, Taipei Times

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) has approved a subsidy of NT$52.1 million (US$1.66 million) for the Kaohsiung City Government to combat an outbreak of dengue fever.

Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) made the announcement at an ad-hoc meeting in Kaohsiung on how the Executive Yuan and local governments can better streamline efforts to curb the spread of the disease.

Su last week said that the city government earlier this month had asked for NT$10.7 million to contain the outbreak, which the Executive Yuan granted.

However, Han on Monday made a surprise visit to the Legislative Yuan in Taipei to lobby lawmakers for more funds to fight the outbreak.

The city government asked for NT$53 million in total, which the Executive Yuan approved and would be disbursed in full, Chen said, adding that Su had ordered the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics to step up efforts to help the city curb the outbreak.

Due to the heat and torrential rain this year, Taiwan has become a hotbed for the disease, making prevention more difficult than previous years, he said.

Dengue cases in Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Cambodia, have more than tripled this year, Chen said, adding that some people visiting those nations have returned home with dengue.

To properly eliminate the disease, people need to eradicate mosquito breeding grounds in their community, emptying any vessel that contains stagnant water, cleaning items such as tires or pottery basins to get rid of mosquito eggs and scrubbing large containers such as fish tanks or bathtubs.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has placed Thailand, Singapore, the Maldives, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, India and Sri Lanka on its highest alert list and advised people to take extra caution when traveling to those countries.

People who display symptoms of dengue fever such as a headache, fever, postorbital or joint pains, or rashes should immediately seek medical help and inform local health authorities, the CDC said.

This year there have been 20 confirmed cases of indigenous dengue fever in Taiwan, all in Kaohsiung, with 18 categorized as a cluster outbreak, CDC data released on Tuesday showed.

As of Tuesday, 171 imported cases of dengue fever infection have been confirmed nationwide, the highest in nearly 10 years, the data showed.

Given the urgent need to stop the disease from spreading further, Su has named Chen, a physician-turned politician, to lead an ad-hoc epidemic control task force.

Yesterday’s meeting was attended by academics, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤), Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) and Arthur Chen (陳宜民), as well as officials from the ministries of health, environmental protection and national defense.

Additional reporting by CNA

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