Taipei, July 31 (CNA) The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced eight new cases of indigenous dengue fever Tuesday, urging the public to take precautions as the mosquito-borne disease has already entered its peak season.
The eight cases included both male and female patients aged between 18 and 76 living in southern Taiwan's Tainan and Kaohsiung cities, according to a CDC statement.
As dengue fever patients display flu-like symptoms, CDC Deputy Director-General Chou Chih-hao said that a correct diagnosis can take longer than expected.
"Of the eight new confirmed cases, seven went to hospitals between two and five times before being correctly diagnosed," he said.
Doctors are therefore urged to obtain patients' travel history and medical records to help them make a diagnosis, he added.
There have been 48 cases of indigenous dengue fever since May and all of the patients were residents of southern Taiwan.
With dengue fever entering its peak season, individuals should monitor and clean up potential mosquito breeding sites around their residences because this can effectively prevent transmission of the disease, he said.
In related news, Chou said that eight new cases of enterovirus 71 (EV71) infection were reported last week. EV71 is a picornavirus associated with fatal neurological illness in infants and young children.
Seven of the patients, aged between 8 months and 12 years, have been discharged from hospital after treatment. A 1-year-old boy from northern Taiwan remains hospitalized.
As of July 30, there have been 117 severe cases of enterovirus infection, of which 114 were EV71 cases. In June, a 5-month-old boy became the first person in the country to succumb to the contagious disease this year.
Chou reminded parents with children to instill in them the habit of washing their hands frequently to reduce the risk of infection.
He also urged parents to seek immediate medical attention should their children develop symptoms of drowsiness, weakness, muscle spasm, vomiting or increased heartbeat.
(By Nancy Liu)