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Kaohsiung to reward mosquito catchers as virus outbreak worsens

2014/10/31 19:06:26

Taipei, Oct. 31 (CNA) Kaohsiung residents will be able to turn the pests that have spread dengue fever in the southern Taiwan city into an asset, as the city plans to reward those who have caught the most mosquitoes by Saturday.

In the campaign that started Wednesday, city health authorities have asked the public to collect as many of the mosquitoes contributing to the outbreak as possible and tally them on Saturday in a bid to remove the principal transmitter of the disease.

The pests being targeted are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, also known as yellow fever mosquito and tiger mosquito, respectively.

According to the city's Department of Health, which is organizing the campaign, the winner will be the person who has caught the largest number of those two types of mosquitoes -- regardless of their state of being (mature or in larval form), alive or dead.

"Instead of fining people who fail to remove standing water and other breeding sites around their homes, we think this program could raise greater community participation," said Ho Hui-ping, chief of the section in the Health Department responsible for the campaign.

The No. 1 mosquito keeper will be rewarded NT$3,000 (US$100), while the top 10 contestants will each be given free bug spray and mosquito nets, according to Ho.

To be eligible for the prizes, participants must bring their catches to Alley 161, Lichi Street in Kaohsiung between 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Saturday, she said.

The results will be announced after city staffers tally the number of mosquitoes turned in. That will be followed by a community cleaning event, according to the department.

The competition is among the city's more unconventional approaches to clear the city of the mosquitoes amid an outbreak of 7,537 cases of dengue fever this year as of Oct. 28, including five more severe hemorrhagic dengue fever cases.

Another idea under consideration is to use sea water to flush out the city's drainage system and thus destroy breeding grounds of the mosquitoes, according to the city government.

Dengue fever is an infectious tropical disease spread by mosquitoes. The symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, and skin rash. In a small proportion of cases, the disease can develop into hemorrhagic dengue fever, which can be fatal.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)

Related stories:
●Oct. 29: Kaohsiung mulls using sea water to clear mosquito breeding sites
●Oct. 27: Dengue fever outbreak escalating in Kaohsiung