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Dengue Fever Advisory: Check and clear containers of any pooled water and clean thoroughly. Seek medical attention for any indicative symptoms

Recent summer heat with sporadic rains, developing dengue fever outbreaks in Middle and Southern Taiwan as well as in Southeast Asian countries, and more frequent cross-border and cross-region travel for business and school entry are factors contributing to the breeding of vectors (mosquitoes) and disease transmission, and greatly increase the epidemic risk in Taipei City. The Department of Health of the Taipei City Government advises citizens who have visited an epidemic area to keep watch for any indicative symptoms (such as fever, headache, retro-orbital pain, muscle and joint pain), and immediately seek medical attention (and inform the physician of travel and activity history) when such symptoms develop. It is also advised to reduce possible breeding grounds by checking and clearing containers of any pooled water, and cleaning them thoroughly. Rigorous cleaning of outdoor containers with pooling helps prevent outbreaks in Taipei City.

In Taiwan, endemic cases of dengue fever have been reported in Tainan City, Yunlin County, Kaohsiung City, Taichung City, Pingtung County and Nantou County, and the epidemic is still escalating. Considering that dengue fever has an incubation of 3 to 14 days, the Department of Health advises citizens who have visited domestic or foreign epidemic areas to keep watch for any indicative symptoms over a period of 3 to 14 days after returning from their trip, and immediately to seek attention when such symptoms develop for timely diagnosis.

The Department of Health is to provide a few facts about dengue fever: dengue fever is transmitted through vectors including yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) and Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus). These mosquitoes are more active at early morning and around dusk, specifically 7 to 9 am and 4 to 5 pm. Mosquito eggs can survive for about 60 days without water, and rapidly hatch into larvae when exposed to pooled water (such as rainwater puddles). These larvae morph into adult mosquitoes in approximately 7 days. As a reminder, unattended containers with pooled water can easily become mosquito breeding sites. It is crucial to check and clear containers of any pooled water, and to clean them thoroughly, with more emphasis on the cleaning action. Container walls should be cleaned on a weekly basis regardless of pooling status to remove any mosquito eggs. It is also advised to keep unused containers flipped to reduce potential breeding sites.

The Department of Health states that dengue fever prevention takes persistent effort. Citizens should include dengue fever vigilance as an essential part of their daily routine. When there is a need to stay outdoors for a longer period of time, consider wearing long sleeve tops and trousers of lighter colors (as mosquitoes are more likely to feed on those wearing darker clothes), and use approved mosquito repellent containing DEET, Picaridin or IR-3535. When indicative symptoms (such as fever, headache, nausea, rashes, retro-orbital pain and joint pain) develop, immediately seek medical attention and inform the physician of any travel and activity history.