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Travellers warned about Dengue
By Zhao Huanxin (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-08-20 01:56

Quarantine authorities are urging travellers to take precautions against the mosquito-borne disease dengue fever after some Southeast Asian countries have reported cases.

Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia and Sri Lanka have recently reported outbreaks of the disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

To stop it spreading to China, travellers from regions subject to dengue fever are being asked to declare symptoms such as fever, headaches, bone or joint and muscular pains and rashes associated with the disease at Chinese quarantine and inspection stations.

The request was made in a bulletin issued Thursday by the State General Administration for Quality Supervision and Inspection and Quarantine.

If travellers develop any of these symptoms after entering China, they should get medical treatment immediately, said the bulletin.

The fever was reported for the first time in Bhutan, where 1,565 cases were reported between July 1 and 16. There were no deaths, according to statistics posted on WHO's official website http://www.who.int.

By July 19, Sri Lanka had registered 9,062 cases and 59 deaths, and in Indonesia, 59,321 cases of dengue fever and dengue haemorrhagic fever and 669 deaths were recorded by July 7.

Bangladesh reported three deaths by July 21, the WHO said.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne infection which in recent years has become a major international public health concern. No vaccine is available for dengue and the infection does not spread directly from person to person, experts said.

To stop dengue-carrying mosquitoes entering China, quarantine authorities said all transport equipment and containers from infected areas should be disinfected.

Quarantine officials Thursday advised people who may be heading for the four Southeast Asian countries to get the latest information about the disease from local quarantine agencies or health care centres.

Malaria control

In a related development, the Ministry of Health on Wednesday called for conscientious efforts to monitor, report and control malaria to prevent outbreaks in China.

In particular, malaria prevention should target Chinese migrant workers, especially those returned from Myanmar, or working on the Sino-Mynmar borders, the ministry said.

By the end of last month, 80 malaria cases, including two deaths, had been reported among rural migrants in Southwest China's Sichuan Province. The farmers had worked on the Sino-Myanmar border, the ministry said.

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