Dengue outbreak reaches 3,446 reported cases

Photo courtesy of CNA
Photo curtesy of CNA

By Ko Lin

The number of dengue fever cases in Tainan has exceeded 3,003, while 3,446 cases of dengue fever had been reported in all of Taiwan as of August 31, according to Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (TCDC) on Monday.

 On a daily average, 20 to 40 patients are being hospitalized for contracting dengue fever, where 60 percent of those seeking treatment have remained in hospital beds for a week, the TCDC said.

The latest statistics showed that Kaohsiung was the second worst hit by the mosquito-borne disease, with 381 cases have been reported between May 1 and August 31. Pingtung County was next with 17 reported cases during the same period, followed by New Taipei with 11.

According to Hung Yuan-bin, director of the Tainan Hospital’s Infectious Disease Department, symptoms of dengue include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash that is similar to measles.

“Around 60 percent of the patients remaining in hospitals will experience fever for a week,” Hung said.

“In most severe cases, 10-20 percent of them will witness dengue hemorrhagic fever, resulting in intestinal bleeding.”

While a number of patients have been observed to fall into the so-called “dengue shock syndrome” at a later stage of treatment – where those traumatized by the disease have shown dangerously low blood pressure – the illness can become life threatening, according to Hung.

As there are currently no approved vaccines for the dengue virus, prevention thus depends on control of and protection from the bites of the mosquito that transmits it.

The TCDC again urged the public to empty stagnant water and keep their surrounding quarters clean in an effort to effectively eradicate the dengue epidemic in Taiwan.

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