Japanese models contract dengue fever after visiting Tokyo park
Agence France-Presse in Tokyo
A worsening outbreak of dengue fever in Japan has claimed its first celebrities - two young models sent on assignment to the Tokyo park believed to be its source.
The details emerged as the government said yesterday that at least 34 people had caught the disease, which has not been seen in Japan for seven decades apart from cases contracted overseas.
The two women - Saaya, 20, and Eri Aoki, 25 - had been sent to Yoyogi Park last month for the Saturday variety show on which they appear, the Nikkan Sports said.
A few days later, both came down with a temperature, it said.
Saaya, whose swimsuit pictures have made her a favourite in Japan's Playboy, blogged about her high fever last Wednesday before news of the dengue outbreak spread.
The revelation that the two beauties had succumbed to the mosquito-borne disease provided fodder for the TV shows that fill daytime schedules in celebrity-obsessed Japan.
The health ministry said all 34 sufferers had visited Yoyogi Park, a popular green spot in crowded Tokyo.
Dengue fever, which is carried by the tiger mosquito, was stamped out in Japan at the end of the second world war, even though the mosquito breed remains endemic.
Tokyo officials have sprayed about 800 litres of pesticide in the park to try to kill off the insect colony.