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Taipei City’s First Confirmed Zika infection in 2018 – Citizens are advised to prevent mosquito infestation and sanitize the environment

On September 30 of 2018, Taipei City confirmed the first cross-border infection case of Zika virus. The Taipei City Government Department of Health first received the report of the suspected Zika virus infection on 26th of September, and immediately began an epidemiological investigation and case tracking. The Department of Health provided mosquito spray for self-protection and instructed the affected individual to maintain self-health management and household isolation, and conducted a vector mosquito density survey within a radius of 50 meters from the residence of the suspected case in Songshan District; the Breteau Index was 0. Although the affected individual left Taiwan on the day of confirmed diagnosis, epidemic prevention measures are still required for the individual’s residence and locations where he/she had stayed for up to 2 hours during the period of viremia (including Zhong Yang Neighborhood and Jiang Shan Neighborhood in Zhongshan District, and Zhong Hua Neighborhood in Songshan District); a vector mosquito survey, health monitoring tracking for the contacted individuals and chemical sterilization are also underway; the district office has also mobilized residents to clean the neighborhood of any potential infestation sources.
 
Zika virus has symptoms similar to that of Dengue fever, but milder. The classical symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, arthritis, non-suppurative or congestive conjunctivitis. Other common symptoms include headache, pain of the anterior eye socket, loss of appetite, abdominal pain and nausea. The transmission routes include bites from Asian tiger mosquitoes and yellow fever mosquitos; males can also transmit the virus to their partners through sexual intercourse. Pregnant women infected with Zika virus may give birth to fetuses with microcephaly or those which are stillborn. Citizens are advised to take the necessary anti-mosquito precautions when traveling to epidemic areas, and to exercise the “1+6 Principle”: delay blood donation by at least 1 month, exercise contraception methods during sexual intercourse (correct use of condoms during the entire process), and delay pregnancy by at least 6 months; adopt mosquito preventive measures for at least 3 weeks.
 
The Taipei City Government Department of Health urges everyone to thoroughly clean the environment to clear any potential vector infestation sources by exercising the four steps of checking, pouring, cleaning and brushing any potential unattended containers and vessels in the household environment. Women who are pregnant or are planning to conceive should hold off on traveling to epidemic regions; if the trip is necessary, inform your physician first and implement preventive measures on site, such as wearing light-colored, long-sleeved clothing and pants, and applying anti-mosquito agents approved by the Ministry of Health and Welfare on exposed skin. Citizens with questions related to epidemic prevention are welcome to contact the epidemic hotline on 02-23753782, or call the Taipei service hotline 1999 to talk to a service representative.