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Thirty Dengue Fever Cases Found in Fujian

Thirty cases of dengue fever and 18 suspected cases have been found since September in East China's Fujian Province.

The 30 reported cases include four cases from outside the area. The others were infected locally. So far, there have been no deaths since the first outside case was found on September 9, according to a bulletin issued on Thursday by the Health Department of the Fujian Provincial Government.

Sixteen patients are recovered and have been released from hospital.

Among the four outside cases, it has been proved that three were infected when travelling: two in the Philippines and one in Cambodia.

All the patients are undergoing medical treatment in designated hospitals, said an anonymous senior official with the department.

Two hospitals have been appointed to offer special treatment to the dengue patients in Fuzhou, capital of the province.

The department has laid out a plan on the prevention and treatment of the fever, stipulating the relevant hospitals should report disease updates to superior departments through the Internet.

To stop the disease spreading to the province from abroad, quarantine and inspection stations have been requested to enhance sanitation supervision for ships, airplanes and containers coming from regions subject to dengue fever.

Dengue fever, a mosquito-borne disease, has become an international public health concern since it broke out in Asian countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia and Sri Lanka in recent years, killing hundreds there.

Statistics from the World Health Organization show that more than 100 countries and regions suffer from dengue fever, which claims about 24,000 people around the world each year.

Infected patients often show symptoms such as fever, headaches, bone or joint and muscular pains and rashes.

Because the disease has been rare in most regions of Fujian in the past few years, many doctors are not familiar with the symptoms of the disease. This led to wrong diagnoses when the disease first appeared, said an emergency statement about dengue issued last month by the province's Health Department.

Experts said that no vaccine is available for dengue at present. The most effective way to prevent the disease is to wipe out mosquitoes.

The Fujian government has taken measures to strengthen people's awareness of the disease and organized several mass activities to kill mosquitoes in people's residential quarters since last month.

Due to the province's frequent communications with Southeast Asian areas, as well as its similar climatic and geographic conditions in tropical and sub-tropical environments which are suitable for mosquitoes, Fujian is considered a risky area where the disease will enter and spread.

In 1999, the fever spread in several cities of the province, and a few outside cases were found in 2000.

Also, there have been several dengue fever cases in coastal provinces such as Guangdong, as well as Taiwan, in recent years.

(China Daily October 16, 2004)

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