Monday, 10 November 2014
Dengue crisis worsens as disease spreads north
China is now experiencing its worse outbreak of dengue fever in two decades, with almost 1000 cases a day being recorded in south China, and the infection spreading as far north as Henan.
Outbreaks of the serious infection spread by the Aedes mosquito are centred around Guangdong, where almost 43,000 cases have been recorded this year.
However, the disease is now affecting other parts of China, including Zhejiang, Fujian, Yunnan and Guangxi, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC).
"The outbreak of dengue fever this year is the worst in China since 1995, when 6,812 cases were recorded," according to Qin Chengfeng, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Military Medical Sciences.
Alarm bells are ringing because the infection has also been reported as far north as Henan, half way between Shanghai and Beijing. Researchers say this is the first time the disease has been seen so far from the traditional areas of south China. Infectious disease experts said there were more than 50 cases of dengue fever reported in Shenhou township, presumably imported by migrant workers who had been in south China and Laos. They said the findings should act as a warning that the disease is spreading rapidly within China.
Other experts have attributed the spread of dengue to changing weather patterns, pointing to high rainfall that encourages the breeding of the Aedes mosquito.