Joey Choo, Special to The China Post
Health officials in Kaohsiung continued their efforts to reduce the mosquito population yesterday as the number of confirmed cases of dengue fever this year rose to 290. The figure marked a sharp rise from the 201 cases that were reported last year and raises the possibility that Taiwan may be facing a dengue fever epidemic, according to officials at the Department of Health’s Center for Disease Control.
Southern parts of Taiwan have been hit the hardest. As many as 205 cases have been reported in Kaohsiung City, with another 84 originating in Kaohsiung County. Health officials in southern Taiwan have rushed to try to prevent the current outbreak from becoming more serious. Officials warned those with symptoms such as headaches, cramps, rashes or muscle and back pains should seek medical attention immediately. Workers were out spraying insecticide to bring down the mosquito population and emptying out containers with stagnant water that could serve as a breeding ground for the insect. The Center for Disease Control also moved to impose fines of up to NT$150,000 on residents who fail to eliminate areas in their households where mosquitoes could breed. Fines of up to NT$300,000 could also be levied on anyone who hinders the clean-up efforts. But confirmation over the weekend that a Taipei County resident had also come down with the disease sparked fears that dengue fever could be heading north. Health officials in Taipei City also announced that one city resident has dengue fever. However, officials at Taipei’s Department of Health said that the person had apparently picked up the disease while traveling in Burma.