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Dengue fever cases in Taiwan tops 40,500

Dengue fever cases in Taiwan tops 40,500

The number of cases in Taiwan's worst dengue fever outbreak on record has risen to 40,593 since the start of May, with 199 new cases recorded Saturday, according to statistics released Sunday by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).

Kaohsiung alone reported 186 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total cases in the southern port city to 17,092, said the CECC, which was set up in mid-September to tackle the outbreak.

Meanwhile, five new dengue fever infections were reported in the neighboring city of Tainan, which has been the hardest hit area this year, with 22,689 cases as of Saturday.

The outbreak in Kaohsiung has peaked and is gradually easing, as the number of new cases is declining, said Chou Jih-haw, deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control.

Chou warned of a continued risk of the spread of the disease, however, saying that temperatures in Kaohsiung have not fallen below 15 degrees Celsius so far, which means it is still warm enough for dengue-carrying mosquitoes to breed.

Some 316 of this year's dengue fever patients have been infected overseas, Chou said, and he urged visitors to Southeast Asian countries, especially Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, to take precautions against the mosquito-borne disease.

Because the outbreak has shown signs of abating in Tainan, that city's government said Wednesday its center for combating dengue fever has ended operations, and responsibility for fighting the disease will return to related city agencies.

About 95 percent of the patients infected this year have recovered, but 184 people (112 in Tainan, 70 in Kaohsiung and two in Pingtung) have died of dengue fever since May, the latest statistics showed.

Another 21 deaths (19 in Kaohsiung and two in Tainan) are suspected of being caused by the disease, and tests are still being conducted to determine if the suspicions are accurate.

The current outbreak has been the worst in Taiwan's history, with the number of cases nationwide more than doubling the previous year's record of 15,732. In 2014, Kaohsiung was the outbreak's epicenter, reporting nearly 15,000 cases and 20 fatalities. (By Lung Pei-ning, Chang Jung-hsiang, Kay Liu and Kuo Chung-han)

Updated : 2021-09-28 19:24 GMT+08:00