Health authorities warn of dengue outbreak in Taipei

The China Post staff

Health authorities have warned of an outbreak of dengue fever in Taipei, saying mosquitoes carrying the potentially deadly virus have been increasing. Taipei’s Bureau of Health said yesterday the number of mosquitoes carrying dengue virus in several districts of the city has already reached a dangerous level.

The most alarming figures have been recorded in Taan district’s Yitsun ward, Chungcheng district’s Lunghsin ward, Wenshan district’s Pochia ward and the spa resort area at Peitou, the bureau revealed. The figures were based on investigations conducted between July 1 and 19, and bureau said they represented the highest number of dengue mosquitoes for the same period since 1998. Dengue mosquitoes were also found in many other areas in the capital city, it said. As the mosquitoes that carry the dengue virus can breed in pools of still water as small as a coin, health authorities urged residents to drain empty vessels of water. Meanwhile in Kaohsiung, which has been plagued by the worst dengue outbreak in 14 years, the number of residents victimized by the disease reached about 400. Of the patients, 10 were suffering from the more acute dengue hemorrhagic fever, which has a mortality rate of 15 percent to 50 percent. Disease control officials at the Cabinet-level Department of Health said they were worried by the possibility of a major outbreak of the more acute type of dengue fever in the southern city. The officials also warned travelers to Malaysia to look out for the disease, which has already victimized more than 3,150 people in the Southeast Asian country, of whom five have died.