Taipei, Aug. 31 (CNA) A specialist in Tainan said Monday that over 60 percent of patients who have contracted dengue fever this year had high temperatures that lasted for about a week, which is a longer average period than those recorded in previous dengue fever outbreaks. Hung Yuan-pin (???), director of Tainan Hospital’s Division of Infectious Diseases, said his hospital has recently been receiving 20 to 40 dengue fever inpatients each day. Still more patients have sought outpatient care or emergency help, he said. “(Their) fever lasts a very long time this year. It used to take only two to three days for the temperature to go down, but this time, it is lasting for seven days,” Hung said, adding that he fears the outbreak this summer is more severe than in the past. Along with National Cheng Kung University Hospital, Tainan Hospital under the Ministry of Health is the major medical institution providing treatment to dengue fever patients in the southern municipality.
Dengue fever has claimed the lives of four people so far this year — all in Tainan and most of whom were elderly or suffering from underlying illnesses. Since early August, the mosquito-borne disease has been escalating, especially in the Tainan area. Health officials have reminded people to keep their homes free of standing water and to make efforts to avoid mosquito bites. Dengue fever is an infectious tropical disease spread by mosquitoes. The symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, and skin rash. In a small proportion of cases, the disease can develop into hemorrhagic dengue fever, which can be fatal. Tainan has reported more than 3,000 dengue fever cases since the start of this summer, making disease control more challenging in the southern Taiwan city, Taiwan’s Center for Disease Control (CDC) said Monday. It is followed by Kaohsiung with 381 cases, Pingtung County with 17 cases, and New Taipei with 11 cases, the agency said, adding that a total of 3,446 cases have been confirmed islandwide. (By Lung Pei-ning, Lee Hsin-Yin and Hu Xiangjie)