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S China Regions on Alert for Malaria, Dengue Fever
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Eight southern Chinese provincial regions have issued a health alert for malaria and dengue fever coming from southeast Asia, following 11 cases reported in the past month.

The health authorities ordered stricter medical inspections at the ports of people, vehicles, cargoes and containers from southeast Asian regions, according to a joint circular issued by Chongqing Municipality, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, Hainan, Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan.

The health authorities also called for a campaign to eliminate mosquitoes, flies, bedbugs and rats and to enhance public awareness of disease prevention, especially among people traveling to southeast Asia.

In October, four people in Guangdong Province who had just returned from south Asia were found to have contracted malaria,

The four, all staff of a company in Guangdong's Shunde City, had suffered from fever, diarrhea, skin rashes and dizziness since their return in September, a spokesman with the Guangdong Provincial Inspection and Quarantine Bureau said.

Also in the past month, Yunnan reported seven cases of dengue fever coming from Myanmar, according to the circular.

Health authorities recorded 502 dengue cases in September, but no fatalities. Guangdong Province recorded 492 of the cases, according to the Ministry of Health.

The mosquito-borne dengue fever is a serious infectious disease that causes high fever and can lead to vomiting and nausea. It kills 25,000 people and infects more than 100 million each year in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, according to the ministry.

Malaria is one of the world's most common diseases, caused by a parasite that is transmitted to humans by a female mosquito's bite. Symptoms include fever, shivering, joint pain, headache, vomiting, convulsions and coma. If untreated, the most serious types of malaria can prove fatal in just two days. Malaria parasites weaken the immune system, making victims more vulnerable to other infectious, life-threatening diseases.

(Xinhua News Agency November 4, 2006)

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