23 dengue fever cases reported in Guangzhou
Twenty-three cases of potentially deadly dengue fever have been reported in Guangzhou, and most of the patients had been admitted in the past week, health officials said.
Guangdong Health Department spokesman Feng Shaomin said that it was not clear whether other cities had been affected by the disease.
All hospitals have to report dengue fever cases on a daily basis, as they did for the Sars outbreak, but Dr Feng said he was not sure if hospitals without cases also had to file reports.
Guangdong Infectious Diseases Hospital deputy director Yin Chibiao said there were five cases in his hospital alone.
'They were admitted in the past few days and they are all in stable condition,' he said. 'We have treated about 10 cases since the outbreak began.'
The first case of the mosquito-borne disease reported this year was admitted to hospital on May 26. Of the total cases so far, 15 patients are from the Tianhe district.
Despite the current heat wave, the Health Department is advising residents to wear long-sleeve clothing and trousers when outdoors to avoid being bitten by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. They have also been advised to install mosquito screens at home.
Teachers have been instructed to tell children how they can avoid the disease when schools reopen after the summer holiday on September 1.
World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics show that there were 405 cases of dengue fever on the mainland in 2000, 370 cases in 2001 and 1,300 cases last year.
Half of the nation's cases have traditionally been reported in Guangdong province, which has a subtropical climate.
A WHO expert in Beijing said she has not observed any unusual phenomena in terms of the total number of cases reported so far.
Dengue fever is not a deadly disease, but dengue haemorrhagic fever, which causes internal bleeding, can kill.