Taiwan's first indigenous dengue case this year reported

This month marks the earliest an indigenous case has been discovered in 3 years

This year's warmer winter means more mosquitoes

This year's warmer winter means more mosquitoes (Taiwan News photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has announced this year’s first indigenous case of dengue fever—the earliest it has broken out in three years.

The CDC made the announcement in a press conference Monday morning, CNA reports, warning the public to take precautions against mosquito bites when venturing outside.

Centers Deputy Director Dr. Yi-jun Luo (羅一鈞) said the infected patient is a woman in her 20s living in Kaohsiung (高雄) who began exhibiting symptoms Feb. 1. She was initially diagnosed with a common cold but after her symptoms did not alleviate, she was screened using a dengue NS1 antigen test, which returned positive results.

The patient is currently under isolation in hospital to prevent transmission via mosquito bite.

Dr. Luo said a man in his 50s was recently diagnosed with dengue fever and recorded as an imported case, as he had returned from traveling to Thailand in January. He is expected to be the source of this year’s first indigenous outbreak.

To prevent the spread of the disease, Kaohsiung City Government’s Department of Health has already completed disinfection procedures at the woman’s home. The department held a community meeting for contagion prevention and will continue with follow-up investigation and preventative measures in the area.

Usually, indigenous dengue cases start to appear from May onwards, Dr. Luo said, as cold weather disrupts mosquito reproduction, and the insects go into hibernation during winter. This is the first time in three years the first indigenous case has been reported as early as February, he added.

The CDC reiterated that this year’s warmer winter is conducive to a higher mosquito population. People must take extra precautions during Lunar New Year vacations, the department stated. Anyone experiencing fever, headaches, ocular pain or muscle stiffness ought to immediately seek medical attention.