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Taiwan CDC urges physicians and public to stay vigilant against dengue fever as deaths from dengue hemorrhagic fever occur

On October 25, 2011, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) announced this year’s second and third deaths caused by dengue hemorrhagic fever in Taiwan. The second death was a 66-year-old female who resided in Shimei Village, Sanmin District, Kaohsiung City and had type 2 dengue fever. The case had dengue fever in 1989 and a history of diabetes. On October 19, she developed symptoms, including fever, headache, and bone and muscle aches. When her symptoms persisted after seeking medical attention at a clinic, she was transferred to a hospital for further medical attention and hospitalized. When she developed bleeding tendency, she was reported to the health authority as a case of dengue hemorrhagic fever, which was later confirmed. Unfortunately, after treatment, she still passed away due to respiratory or multiple organ failure on October 24. The third death from dengue hemorrhagic fever was a 64-year-old male who resided in Chengyu Village, Donggang Township, Pingtung County and had dengue fever of unknown virus type. The case had a history of high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease. However, it is unclear whether the patient had dengue fever before. On October 16, he developed symptoms, including fever, headache, and bone and muscle aches. When his symptoms persisted after seeking medical attention at a clinic, he was transferred to a hospital for further medical attention and hospitalized. When he developed bleeding tendency, he was reported to the health authority as a case of dengue hemorrhagic fever, which was later confirmed. Unfortunately, after treatment, he still passed away due to respiratory or multiple organ failure on October 23. Taiwan CDC advises the public to seek immediate medical attention when suspected symptoms such as fever, headache, malaise, back eye socket pain, muscle ache or joint ache, and inform the doctor of any recent travel history and medical history to facilitate diagnosis. In addition, Taiwan CDC also urges physicians to remain vigilant for suspected cases of dengue fever by inquiring their patient about any recent travel history and medical history. The cumulative total number of confirmed indigenous dengue fever cases since this summer has reached 457. Most of the indigenous cases reside in Lingya District, Kaohsiung City. In addition, the number of confirmed dengue fever cases has increased continuously in Sanmin District, Kaohsiung City, which is a district adjacent to Lingya District. Moreover, geographic clusters of indigenous dengue fever cases have been reported in Taipei City, Penghu County, Tainan City and Pingtung County, and sporadic cases have been reported in Taichung City and New Taipei City. Furthermore, since this summer, the number of dengue hemorrhagic fever cases has reached 6, including three deaths. Taiwan CDC also pointed out that in the past, clusters of DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4 had occurred simultaneously and epidemics of DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4 had occurred. When a dengue patient has previously been infected with a different type of dengue virus, the chance that the patient will develop symptoms of dengue hemorrhagic fever is increased. Therefore, as the dengue epidemic gets worse, it is highly likely that an epidemic of dengue hemorrhagic fever might occur. As the number of dengue fever cases reported in Taiwan has reached an alarming rate, Taiwan CDC once again urges the public to stay alert and take necessary measures such as draining water containers and cleaning up vector breeding sites around their residences as well as preventing mosquito bites to effectively prevent the spread of dengue fever and protect their own health and the health of their family. For any questions or further information on dengue fever or dengue hemorrhagic fever, please call the toll-free Communicable Disease Case Reporting and Consultation Hotline 1922, or visit the Taiwan CDC’s website: http://www.cdc.gov.tw/english/index.aspx Source:Centers for Disease Control, R.O.C.(Taiwan)