With an additional 183 dengue fever cases report Friday in Taiwan’s southern city of Tainan, the dengue tally has topped the 20,000 mark putting the total at 20,172 as of Oct. 16.

Aedes aegypti/CDC
Aedes aegypti/CDC

Although Tainan City hit this unfortunate landmark, the good news is the cases appear to be tapering off somewhat. The 183 cases reported yesterday was 16 less than the previous Friday, health officials note.

A total of 367 new cases were reported countrywide yesterday, bringing the total to 24,874.

While things appear a little better in Tainan, neighboring Kaohsiung City is seeing a small increase in cases compared to last week. The total in Kaohsiung now stands at 4,274.

According to the Taiwan CDC, 106 dengue-related fatalities have been reported since the beginning of the outbreak in May.

Dengue fever is an infectious disease carried by mosquitoes and caused by any of four related dengue viruses. This disease was once called called “break-bone fever” because it sometimes causes severe joint and muscle pain that feels like bones are breaking.

Dengue fever of multiple types is found in most countries of the tropics and subtropics particularly during and after rainy season.

There are four types of dengue virus: DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4.

People get the dengue virus from the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. It is not contagious from person to person.

There are three types of dengue fever in order of less severe to most: the typical uncomplicated dengue fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHS) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS).

Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today and the Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch

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