China / Society

Guangdong officials rush to cope with dengue fever outbreak

By ZHENG CAIXIONG in Guangzhou ( Updated: 2014-09-25 20:08

Dengue fever, which is responsible for three deaths in Guangdong province, is posing a serious threat to residents, especially the elderly.

An 80-year-old died of the disease in Foshan's Huangqi township, Nanhai district, on Sunday after being hospitalized for a month. The two other victims, an 80-year-old and a 70-year-old, were reported in Guangzhou's Yuexiu and Baiyun districts last week, the Guangdong Center for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Guangdong reported a total of 1,408 dengue fever cases on Tuesday and Wednesday alone.

Meanwhile, Guangzhou, the provincial capital, had reported 6,361 dengue fever cases by Thursday, a record high for the southern metropolis and more than 90 percent of Guangdong’s total. The city's previous record was 5,337 dengue fever cases reported in 1995.

By the end of Thursday, Guangdong has reported a total of 7,997 dengue fever cases in 17 prefecture-level cities since July. The country's most populous province, which borders Hong Kong and Macao, reported 2,800 dengue fever cases last year. Guangdong has a population of more than 100 million.

Zhang Yonghui, director of the provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, attributed the large number of dengue fever cases in Guangdong to the abundant rainfall and high temperatures, which are more conducive for mosquitoes to grow in summer.

"Many Southeast Asian nations and regions have reported dengue fever outbreaks this year," Zhang said.

He Jianfeng, chief expert with the Guangdong Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said the number of dengue fever cases will continue to grow in Guangdong in the weeks to come.

"Dengue fever usually peaks in Guangdong between May and November," He told local media.

"But residents should not panic, as dengue fever can be prevented and treated," he said

He called for concrete and effective measures to be introduced quickly to help bring the epidemic under control in places where mini-outbreaks of dengue fever have been reported in the province.

Yin Chibiao, president of Guangzhou No 8 People’s Hospital, said that more than 50 percent of the seriously ill dengue fever patients treated at his hospital are older than 60, with 20 percent older than 80.

Yin said his hospital has prepared for the fight against dengue fever.

Dengue fever is mainly passed to humans by mosquitoes. Symptoms of the flulike disease include headaches, rashes, lethargy, and joint and bone pain.

To prevent and fight the epidemic, a special task force headed by Lin Shaochun, Guangdong vice-governor, has been established to focus on dealing with the dengue fever cases.

The provincial government has issued a notice that requires government departments to realize the importance and urgency in preventing and fighting the infectious disease.

Meanwhile, departments and neighborhood committees across the province have been required to launch special campaigns to help wipe out mosquitoes weekly.

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