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Control of Dengue Fever Takes No Break at Schools and in Communities

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Based on the data of the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control, there had been 35 indigenous cases (31 in Kaohsiung City and four in Tainan City) and 188 imported cases of dengue fever in 2019 as of 4 July. Moreover, now is the peak season of mosquito-transmitted diseases, with recent downpours significantly raising the risk of the outbreak of dengue fever. The EPA particularly urges the public to immediately clean up containers holding stagnant water.

The EPA noted that this year the Bureau of Environmental Inspection, as well as regional environmental protection bureaus were deployed earlier than usual for dengue fever control in northern, central, and southern Taiwan. Efforts have been intensified to inspect breeding grounds such as residential vegetable gardens, recycling facilities, vacant buildings, outdoor dumping sites for tires, construction sites, dirty spots, and so on. Schools have also been listed as an inspection target after summer break started in July.

During disease control meetings, the EPA repeatedly reminded regional environmental protection bureaus to ask education bureaus to increase the frequency of checking building roofs to clean up stagnant water, and also perform general clean-ups of schools. All schools have been urged to diligently continue performing this task during summer vacation, so that schools would not become breeding sites for mosquitoes during the summer break. In 2019, as of the end of June, the EPA and regional environmental protection authorities received 35 reports of school sites becoming outdoor mosquito breeding grounds. Among them, nine were universities, while 26 were facilities of the elementary and high schools. These reports will be followed up with tightened inspections so as to lower the risk of mosquito-borne diseases spreading.

In response to the outbreak of dengue fever, since June 2019 the EPA has held six training seminars on the clean-up of mosquito breeding grounds for disease control staff in environmental protection bureaus and the central government. There have also been seven educational and promotional events on clean-ups at school sites and in communities, with a total of 1,220 participants. Frontline disease prevention staff learned about the ecology of disease-spreading mosquitoes, breeding ground clean-up and how to identify mosquito larvae and adults. Lecturers then took trainees to conduct outdoor breeding ground inspections, taught about the different types of breeding grounds, and demonstrated various treatment methods. Finally, trainees were accompanied as they conducted face-to-face activities with members of the public to raise awareness of disease control.

Excerpt from Environmental Policy Monthly, 22 (7)

Ministry of Environment