Kaohsiung reports 26 months without dengue fever cases

01/03/2022 06:25 PM
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Image for illustrative purpose only (source: Pixabay)
Image for illustrative purpose only (source: Pixabay)

Kaohsiung, Jan. 3 (CNA) Kaohsiung has had no dengue fever cases for 26 consecutive months, the city's department of health reported on Monday, with the last recorded case having been in October 2019.

The southern port city had recorded dengue cases on an annual basis since 1998 when accurate medical analysis and documentation became available, but from November 2019 Kaohsiung has seen no new cases, Pan Chao-ying (潘炤穎), a specialist with the health department, told CNA.

In a statement released Monday, the department explained that since the city is located south of the Tropic of Cancer, resulting in high temperatures and a humid environment, it is the perfect breeding ground for yellow fever mosquitoes, which spread dengue fever.

Along with the fact that Kaohsiung is an international hub that contains a relatively dense population with access to ports and airports, the city had become the dengue hotspot of Taiwan, the department said.

As a total of 73 cases of the virus have been documented within the country during the same period of time, to have no dengue fever cases for 26 months is a new milestone for the city, it said.

The department went on to elaborate that this achievement was a result of Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai's (陳其邁) COVID-19 pandemic response measures.

To lower the chances of dengue and COVID outbreaks, Chen has imposed improved environment management, mosquito detection, and dengue testing at COVID-19 quarantine centers for foreign employees since August 2020, according to the department.

With better mosquito eradication and monitoring equipment installed at these quarantine locations, the department added, the city was able to carry out mosquito fumigation procedures more efficiently.

According to Pan, until 1998, the disease was historically categorized and recorded by the government as a heat illness, with massive outbreaks documented in 1902, 1915, 1924, 1931, and 1942 while Taiwan was under Japan's governance.

It wasn't until after the introduction of technology that could test for polymerase chain reaction in 1998 that dengue fever could be confirmed and recorded in Taiwan's medical system, he said.

(By Tseng yi-ning and James Lo)

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