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Guangzhou: Control and Prevention of Dengue Fever

Up to August 10 this year, Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province had reported 44 cases of dengue fever, according to sources with the local epidemic prevention and control center.


All of the dozen or so new infections reported in late July took place at the Hengzhigang area on Dengfeng Street, Tianhe District, on the edge of the city's urban district. For two days, from August 9-10, no new dengue fever infection was reported in Guangzhou.


Symptoms of dengue fever, a disease transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, includes high fever, muscle pain and headache. The spread of dengue fever began in Southeast Asia after World War II and has intensified during the last 15 years. There are 20 million cases of dengue infection across the world each year, resulting in around 24,000 deaths, according to a WHO report.


From August 11-17, Guangzhou will initiate a continuous campaign on dengue fever control and prevention, focusing on eliminating breeding splashes for Aedes mosquitoes, especially waters left on the ground after typhoon Morakot hit the area. Local health authorities will also tighten control and strengthen preventive measures to cut off the disease's spreading channels.  


An official from Guangzhou Health Department said that by August 10, a total of 44 dengue fever cases had been reported this year. The city's first case was found in April. Compared with last year, the total dengue fever cases were much less than that of the same period of last year, which totaled 250 cases by August 10. There were 10 epidemic spots in 2002, but this year, Hengzhigang has been so far the only one. 


According to epidemic records of Guangzhou, August and September used to be the peak months of dengue fever. During these two months in 2002, the cases of infection reached 1,068, occupying 75 percent of the year's total.


On August 8, Guangzhou health authorities dispatched a group to Hengzhigang to investigate the sanitary conditions there. Though it was not the first time that such a work team was assigned to this residential area, there were still some remaining problems. For example, two plashes favoring Aedes mosquito breeding were found in a nearby chemical factory and a dozen porcelain wares holding dead water were found on the roof of an unused two-storied building. A large amount of Aedes larvae was found in these splashes. The households and units concerned were told to clean their responsible areas within five days. 


At present, 38 checking groups are working across the city of Guangzhou, organizing cleaning campaigns and publicizing knowledge for preventing dengue fever and measures to kill mosquitoes. The city authorities will soon distribute the pamphlet Guangzhou Mosquito Prevention Guidance to citizens in the city's various districts.


(China.org.cn by Wang Zhiyong August 13, 2003)

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