TAIPEI (TVBS News) — Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported a notable surge in local dengue cases, reaching a total of 1,579 cases this year as of Aug. 14. Of these cases, over 80% have emerged in Tainan, located in southern Taiwan.
The CDC has confirmed this year's first dengue fever-related death in July. Taipei and Hsinchu in northern Taiwan also reported their first domestic cases in years, while Tainan finds itself at the forefront again, with a staggering 1,310 cases and 1 death reported in the region.
As Taiwan is in the midst of the typhoon season and faces rising temperatures, officials and experts are intensifying their efforts to contain the spread of this disease.
Dengue fever primarily spreads through two types of infected mosquitoes: Aedes aegypti, also known as the yellow fever mosquito, and Aedes albopictus, commonly referred to as the tiger mosquito.
Chen Chin-seng, the chief consultant for Epidemic Control, highlights that proper medical care has kept the mortality rate below 1%. However, he warns that cross-infection could escalate the death rate to a range of 5% to 50%.
Professor Chen stresses that the majority of cases are concentrated in southern Taiwan due to the presence of both mosquito species.
The yellow fever mosquito's preference for indoor environments and warmer temperatures accelerates the virus's spread in the southern regions, while the tiger mosquito, found outdoors, serves as the primary carrier in central and northern areas.
Professor Wen Tzai-hung from the National Taiwan University's Geography Department refutes the idea that heavy typhoon rains would directly trigger dengue outbreaks. He does, however, point out that unclean water-filled containers can significantly contribute to the spread of the virus.
To prevent this, he emphasizes the importance of using mosquito repellent, and reducing mosquito habitats.
According to Article 25 of the Communicable Disease Control Act, neglecting vector breeding sites can result in penalties ranging from NT＄3,000 to NT＄15,000. The public must remain vigilant and take necessary precautions to prevent further spread.