Dengue fever infection found in Japan for 1st time in 70 years
TOKYO - The health ministry said Wednesday it has found a patient who contracted dengue fever while in Japan for the first time in nearly 70 years.
Around 200 Japanese are infected with the disease while traveling overseas annually, but no domestic infection had been confirmed since 1945, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.
The patient, a Japanese female teen with no record of overseas travel, ran a high fever late this month and has stayed in a hospital in the city of Saitama. Her condition is currently stable, the ministry said.
The infection is likely to have occurred in Japan through a mosquito which bit a person who caught the virus overseas, the ministry said.
The National Institute of Infectious Diseases is probing whether there are other infected people living close to the teen and has called on prefectural governments to be wary of the disease. The disease does not spread from person to person.
Dengue fever, which often spreads in tropical and subtropical areas in Asia, Latin America and Africa, is transmitted by tiger mosquito and dengue mosquito.
In Japan, tiger mosquitoes live in a region up to the southern part of Aomori Prefecture in the north of the country. Even if an outbreak occurs, it is expected to be limited both in affected areas and contagion period as mosquitoes do not necessarily carry the virus and they cannot survive in winter.
Sufferers are struck with a sudden fever around three to seven days after transmission, accompanied by head and muscle pains and a rash. Most sufferers have mild symptoms, but some may develop bleeding symptoms, which can be life-threatening.
Most patients are only given antipyretic medicine for treatment, as there are no effective drugs or vaccines for practical use.
There have been 98 confirmed cases of dengue disease infection from overseas this year through Aug. 17, according to the ministry.
In August last year, a German tourist who visited Kyoto and Nagano prefectures was diagnosed with the disease after returning home.