Taiwan's wet weather increases risk of dengue fever outbreak

Taiwan faces renewed risk of dengue fever outbreak, as recent wet weather may prompt an increase in mosquito population

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Tiger mosquito.

Tiger mosquito. (By Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In the aftermath of the tropical depression which drenched southern Taiwan on Aug. 23-24, Taiwan faces an increased risk of dengue fever as conditions improve for disease-carrying mosquito eggs, warned Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The CDC advises the public to empty still bodies of water, keep your home clean, and make sure your environment is properly clean and your water source sanitized.  

Dengue fever is a tropical disease, which is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. As of Aug. 24, there are currently 40 cases of the fever in Taiwan, mostly across northern and central areas, according to CDC.

Dengue fever is spread by tiger mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus) and yellow fever mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti), and eggs of these two insects can hatch up to 3 and 6 months after drying. The eggs can spawn new life after coming back into contact with water, leading to renewed risk from Taiwan's recent wet weather reported CNA.

A tropical depressed passed southern Taiwan on Aug. 24-25, bringing with it heavy rain and wind. Some reports liken the recent wild weather to some of Taiwan's worst typhoons. So far six people have been counted as fatalities, and hundreds of homes damaged.

Deputy Head of the CDC, Lo I-chun (羅一鈞) told CNA that both types of mosquito live in different areas, and spread the disease at different rates. He said that the recent wet weather may cause Taiwan's mosquito population to increase rapidly.

Lo implored the public to remove and clean any still bodies of water near homes, to ensure potential mosquito eggs cannot hatch. Lo added that cleaning with a brush essential, rather than just dumping the water.

Tsai Huai-te (蔡懷德), epidemic specialist at the CDC told CNA that the peak time for mosquitoes is 2-3 hours after sunrise, and 2-3 hours before sunset, adding that long-sleeved clothes and anti-mosquito repellent should be used during these times.

Tsai said that children should use weaker strength mosquito repellent, with less than 15 percent DEET.