With dengue fever cases mounting in the southern areas of Taiwan, health officials have been putting their heads together in an attempt to construct a plan to get the epidemic under control.

Over the weekend, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) convened the “Tainan City-Kaohsiung City Healthcare Integration Mechanism Coordination Meeting” and came up with several consensuses to battle the mosquito borne virus.

Aedes aegypti mosquito feeding on a human host/CDC
Aedes aegypti mosquito feeding on a human host/CDC

First, the Dengue NS1 antigen test would be covered by National Health Insurance (NHI) beginning mid-September the soonest.

Taiwan CDC would carefully devise the use of the NS1 antigen test to target certain individuals in order to prevent and reduce waste. Individuals who are over 60 years old, meet the case definition of dengue fever, are diagnosed with dengue with warning signs (Category B Patients) within 7 days of disease onset, and reside in Tainan City, Kaohsiung City or Pingtung County are eligible for government-funded NS1 antigen test.

In addition, MOHW has designated four hospitals, including the Ministry of Health and Welfare Tainan Hospital, Tainan Municipal Hospital, Tainan Municipal An-Nan Hospital, and Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital Tainan Branch, as Dengue Treatment Centers and requested those four hospitals to set a section of their wards for receiving and treating dengue patients.

From May 1 through Sept. 13, 2015, Taiwan has reported 9,566 dengue fever cases including 8,429 from Tainan and 980 from Kaohsiung.

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

Follow @bactiman63