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Guangdong Reports 10 New Dengue Cases
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Residents in south China's Guangdong Province have been told by the local health department to guard against dengue fever following a rise in the number of cases this summer.

By yesterday evening, the number of dengue cases in the province had jumped by 10 to 88, according to Gan Yuanhong, a vice-director at Guangdong Provincial Health Department.

Among the 10 new cases, seven were reported in the provincial capital of Guangzhou, with the others in Yangjiang in southwestern Guangdong.

"However, residents should not panic as there have been no deaths related to dengue fever so far this year," Gan said in an interview with China Daily yesterday.

He said the province knew of only two cases by May this year.

"But the number has risen this summer, reaching a peak this month due to the hot weather, which leads to more mosquitoes," Gan said.

Dengue fever, a serious infectious disease transmitted by mosquitoes, kills 25,000 people and infects more than 100 million each year in tropical and subtropical regions across the world, sources with China's Ministry of Health said.

Since the 1990s, it has broken out occasionally in Guangdong and neighboring Fujian Province in the summer months.

In Guangzhou, which saw the first case of dengue fever in 1978, there had been a total of 13,313 cases by the end of last year.

"Compared with previous years, this year's cases are small in scale and all the patients have shown only slight symptoms," said Tang Xiaoping, president of the Guangzhou No 8 People's Hospital.

According to Tang, Guangzhou saw its biggest-ever outbreak of dengue fever in 2002.

Tang's hospital has so far received 53 patients this year, of which 27 have been cured.

"Previous experience has told us that the death rate from dengue fever stands at no more than 1 per cent," Tang said.

Even in 2002, according to Tang, there were no deaths related to the disease, although there were more than 1,000 cases in Guangzhou.

However, Tang called for better measures to prevent bigger outbreaks of dengue fever.

"As the disease is transmitted by mosquitoes and there are no efficient vaccines to treat it, we advise residents to clean up their environments to get rid of mosquitoes," Tang said.

He added that mosquitoes reproduce easily in areas with dirty water.

As a result, the health department in Guangdong has launched a campaign to clean up such areas across the province.

In old urban areas of Guangzhou, where dengue fever could easily break out due to a dirtier environment, sewers and streets in residential communities are the focus of attention.

The provincial health department has also launched a daily dengue-fever-reporting program to better monitor cases.

Last week, the Ministry of Health started a nationwide monitoring system against dengue fever, aiming to gather evidence on epidemic conditions and analyze disease dissemination patterns.

"Through such measures, we hope that the disease can be better prevented and detected and, most importantly, patients can be better treated," Tang said.

(China Daily August 30, 2006)

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