Public warned of higher dengue risk after Usagi

WHEN IT RAINS::The CDC is warning that heavy rains make outbreaks of the disease more likely, since more stagnant pools of water could breed more mosquitoes

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Sep 23, 2013 - Page 3

After Typhoon Usagi brought heavy rains across the nation this weekend, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday urged the public to empty and clean water containers as the annual peak season for dengue fever draws near.

Water-filled containers can exacerbate an outbreak because they can serve as breeding grounds for dengue-carrying mosquitoes, the CDC said, telling the public to regularly inspect the areas around their homes for stagnant water.

The agency also called on those who have traveled abroad to seek medical attention immediately if they develop symptoms suggestive of dengue fever, as this would enable physicians to report any cases of infection to the authorities, which could then act to contain the risk of an epidemic.

In addition to the risk of travelers importing the disease, the recent downpours caused by Usagi are also a cause for concern as data show that a place is at a higher risk of a dengue outbreak one-and-a-half to two months after receiving 80mm of rain in a day or 200mm of rain in a week, the centers said.

The CDC cautioned that dengue fever outbreaks have swept across Southeast Asia this year, bringing the number of imported cases in the country to their second-highest levels in the past 10 years, affecting 18 cities and counties.

Locally acquired cases have been recorded mostly in Pingtung County, but have also been confirmed in Greater Kaohsiung, Taipei and New Taipei City (新北市), said the agency, reiterating the importance of being alert to the presence of dengue-like symptoms.

There is no vaccine or drug to prevent or treat the disease, the centers said. The most effective prevention measure is the elimination of mosquito breeding habitats, especially during the peak season, which takes place over the next two months, it added.

Those who fail to clean up pools of stagnant water after being notified to do so are subject to a fine ranging from NT$3,000 to NT$15,000, in accordance with the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法), the agency said.