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China on Dengue Fever Alert After HK Case

The Ministry of Health began monitoring dengue fever cases across the country on Friday, as the infection of a Hong Kong woman by the mosquito-borne disease was confirmed on Thursday.


Dengue fever is listed as one of 13 infectious diseases that require a nationwide inspection by the ministry.


Deng Haihua, the ministry's information office director, said "the move is to ensure updated prevention and control of the infectious disease."


Supervision is being carried out at 16 state-level monitoring stations in five regions including South China's Guangdong, Hainan and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, East China's Fujian Province and Southwest China's Yunnan Province.


Last month, seven dengue fever cases were found on the Chinese mainland, and one person died.


Dengue fever has become a major international public health concern in recent years.


No vaccine is available for dengue fever, and the infection does not spread directly from person to person, the ministry said.


This renewed monitoring comes after a 19-year-old Hong Kong woman was stricken with dengue fever and hospitalized this week, making it the 12th dengue case in the territory this year.


The woman traveled to the Philippines on August 4 and came back to Hong Kong on August 9, the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region said while confirming the imported case.


She is now in a stable condition after suffering from symptoms of fever, cold and rashes on August 10.


In neighboring Guangdong Province, fears that the disease was brought from Hong Kong were eased yesterday.


"No dengue fever case has been reported in Guangdong so far," said Zou Qin, director of Centre for Disease Control and Prevention of Guangdong Province.


The provincial government will do its best to prevent the disease from breaking out, he said.


"The monitoring measures on the disease will be implemented in major cities including Guangzhou, Zhongshan, Shantou and Zhanjiang," Zou added.


Outbreaks of the disease occurred in Fujian in 1999 and in Zhejiang in 2004, with a small number of cases occurring in other places in the country.


(Xinhua News Agency August 23, 2005)


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