As people take advantage of the extended National Day holiday to travel, the Centers for DiseaseControl (CDC) urged Taiwan nationals to remain vigilant, adding that the threat of imported dengue fever, chikungunya fever and measles recently hit an all-time high.
According to CDC Deputy Director-General Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞), imported cases of the three infectious diseases are at the highest ever for corresponding periods of the past 10 years. Those who intend to travel abroad this weekend should therefore take precautions to prevent infection.
The latest CDC data shows that as of Monday, there have been 409 imported cases of dengue fever, with over 90 percent originating in Southeast Asian countries. Cases in the past month have largely come from Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines.
Taiwan has also seen 75 imported cases of chikungunya fever so far this year, 70 percent of which originated in Myanmar,causing an increase in indigenous cases of the disease. Over the past month, most cases have been traced to Myanmar and Thailand,the CDC reports.
In addition, 51 imported cases of measles have been recorded, with more than 80 percent involving travelers to Southeast Asian countries. A total of 17 cases were from Vietnam, followed by 13 cases from Thailand and seven from the Philippines.
To guard against infection, travelers should be up to date on any outbreaks in the countries they are planning to visit and adopt anti-mosquito measures once there, the CDC said.
These include using government-approved insect repellents,wearing light-colored, long-sleeved clothing, and choosing accommodation that has screens on doors and windows.
Parents should also avoid taking children under 1-year-old or children who have not received the MMR vaccine, which provides immunization against measles, mumps and rubella, to areas where there have been outbreak of measles.
If they must travel to such areas with children 6-12 months old, parents should ensure they receive the MMR vaccine before departure, Lo advised.
The CDC called on people to seek medical assistance and inform a physician of their travel history if after returning to Taiwan they experience such symptoms as fever, headache,cough, rashes and joint pain.(By Chen Wei-ting and Chiang-yi ching)