3 treated for dengue after travel to Thailand

Shanghai is not an endemic area for dengue fever and most of the diagnosed cases involving people who had been infected with the disease elsewhere but had it detected in Shanghai.

Shanghai Ruijin Hospital has treated three people for dengue fever after they traveled to Thailand this month, the hospital said yesterday.

The patients showed symptoms of fever, skin rash and muscle soreness after they returned to the city from the southeast Asian country.

Dengue fever is an infectious disease spread through mosquitoes. There is no vaccine for the disease and the key measure for prevention is controlling mosquitoes.

Zhuang Yan, a doctor at Ruijin’s infectious disease department, said some symptoms of dengue fever are similar to influenza. Dengue is more serious though, as it can cause headache, soreness and aching joints as well as rashes on the face, neck and chest.

“Just from observing symptoms, you cannot confirm whether it’s influenza or dengue fever,” said Zhuang. “People suspected of having dengue fever should go to the hospital to have a blood test to see if they suffer from a drop in platelets and leukocytes ... People diagnosed with the disease should be isolated from mosquitoes so as to prevent it from spreading.”

Shanghai is not an endemic area for dengue fever and most locally diagnosed cases involve people infected elsewhere.

Shanghai reported 20 dengue fever cases last year, including one patient who was also the first locally infected person in Shanghai, according to statistics published by the Shanghai Health and Family Planning Commission.

Five cases were reported between January and April, and all involved patients infected outside Shanghai, according to the commission.

Neighboring Zhejiang Province had an outbreak of dengue fever last year with more than 1,000 cases. This year, it reported 31 cases by the end of June, according to the provincial health and family planning commission.

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