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Taiwan raises the alarm level in dengue fever outbreak

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TAIPEI – Taiwan’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC) on Tuesday raised the alarm level over an epidemic of dengue fever, which has caused seven deaths this year.

According to CDC, as of Tuesday, Taiwan has reported 7,439 cases of dengue fever, a mosquito-borne viral disease.

Among them, there were 59 cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever, a potentially fatal complication, including seven deaths in the southern city of Kaohsiung.

CDC Director-General Steve Kuo said the number of cases of this year’s outbreak had broken Taiwan’s 2002 record, when over 6,000 cases, including 19 deaths, were reported.

Kuo said that the trends of the recent outbreak remained worrying and the peak time would be around late November.

“At this moment, it is indeed challenging for us to control the outbreak,’’ Kuo told a news conference.

He attributed the record-breaking outbreak to global warming and heavy rains.

Kuo said that several measures had been taken to disinfect empty buildings and unoccupied apartments in the city to wipe out the breeding sites of the insect responsible for spreading the disease, the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

According to Michael Malison, former Director of the U.S. Centre for Disease Control, who is currently in Taipei helping Taiwan to prevent epidemic disease, the prevention and control, the outbreak relies on not only technology but also government’s will.

“The officials need to keep educating the population, citizens still have also the responsibilities,’’ Malison noted.

Taiwan CDC, however, called for public participation in controlling the disease by keeping the environment clean.

Statistics show that last week, over 10,000 empty waste containers were found and removed from Kaohsiung’s Sanmin District. (dpa/NAN)

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