Cases of the mosquito-borne disease have more than tripled over the past two weeks, and the count as of September 13 stands at 115 cases of dengue fever around Japan. In addition, a diagnosis of the disease outside the Tokyo area has been reported.
A girl from the Akita region was sickened with the disease, the first case of dengue fever found outside of the Tokyo and Kanagawa region. Officials are still confirming whether the girl was infected with the disease in China, where she had visited before returning home. Not many cases of foreigners coming down with the disease have been reported; however, an Australian traveler who visited Yoyogi Park was diagnosed with the virus last week.
The tiger mosquito, which carries the disease, will be active until the end of October, and health officials are still asking for visitors to the areas where outbreaks have occurred—including Yoyogi Park, one of the hotspots for the outbreak over the past weeks—to take precautions, such as wearing long sleeve shirts and long pants, as well as using mosquito repellent. Because the malady is carried in the bloodstream, the Japanese Red Cross has been requesting that any potential donors who have visited Yoyogi, Shinjuku Chuo, and Sotobori should wait at least four weeks before making blood donations.
The first cases of dengue fever—the first reported in Japan in more than 70 years—were diagnosed towards the end of August. The first patient belonged to a dance group that had been practicing at Yoyogi. Following the diagnosis of several of the student’s group mates, officials recognize the park as a primary location of the virus-bearing mosquitos. Portions of the park were subsequently closed off and fumigated.
Symptoms of dengue fever appear 3 to 15 days after being bitten by a dengue-carrying mosquito: they include a high fever, pain behind the eyes, and joint, muscle, and bone pain. If you suspect that you may have contracted the disease, stay hydrated and see a doctor as soon as possible.