Taiwanese travelers to Southeast Asia advised to watch out for epidemics

Individuals should take precautions against dengue, other diseases when traveling to Southeast Asia

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Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As Taiwan ramps up measures to ward off the novel coronavirus that has spread from Wuhan, China, residents planning to travel to Southeast Asia during the Lunar New Year holiday are advised to keep vigilant against a host of diseases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Taiwan had seen 11 imported dengue fever cases as of Jan. 13, contracted in the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia. The mosquito-borne disease is also running rampant in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Singapore.

A high level of dengue activity can also be expected in Indonesia as the country grapples with floods due to the monsoon season. The Philippines and Thailand have reported an average of more than 500 cases per week, indicating that protective measures are necessary, the CDC added.

Taiwan saw approximately 2.7 million outbound visitors in January and February of last year, 20 percent of whom were headed for New Southbound countries. 90 percent of imported infectious illnesses during that period were contracted in Southeast and South Asia, including dengue fever, measles, acute hepatitis A, and Entamoeba histolytica.

Individuals planning to visit high-risk areas are advised to get vaccines to immunize themselves against these diseases. They should also maintain good hygiene and wash hands frequently during travel and avoid contact with wild animals, said the CDC.