Reappearance of Dengue Fever Scares Community



Yoyogi Park, the largest park in Tokyo, is now harbouring infectious mosquitoes.

Mina, Staff Writer

TOKYO – Dengue fever has reemerged in the center of Tokyo; it is the first domestic outbreak since 1945. The metropolitan government confirmed last month that an additional 10 people, including five in Tokyo and others in Chiba, Ibaraki, Saitama and Kanagawa prefectures, have been infected making the total number exceed 100.

The origin of the virus was found to be Yoyogi-park, the largest park in Tokyo. Around 100 mosquitoes from the park  were captured and analyzed by the health ministry and the Tokyo metropolitan government, confirming the dengue virus in the mosquitos. Consequently, 80% of Yoyogi-park was closed and 200 gallons of insecticide has been sprayed to abate further spread. Signs are posted outside the park warning visitors to wear long-sleeved garments to prevent infections.

The sudden outburst of the disease has left members of the ISSH community feeling uneasy. ISSH student Saya (11) said, “I realized that it causes a lot of stress on my mother so it is somewhat concerning.”

To subside concerns, the school nurses have been well informed about the current situation and are fully prepared. Ms. Aratani on behalf of the school health department advises, “If you are worried about contracting the fever, the most effective protections are to wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts, and to put on mosquito repellant before going outside.” They have received materials on consultations and precautions from the metropolitan government.

Warning posters in Yoyogi Park
Warning sign posted on a tree in Yoyogi Park, Toyko.                                                             CC-licensed

Dengue virus is transmitted through infected tiger mosquitoes and is not airborne. Symptoms include a fever around three to seven days after being bitten by the infected mosquito, along with headaches, muscle pains, and rashes. Most cases only indicate mild symptoms, however, some cases involve bleeding which can potentially be fatal to the patient. If any signs of symptoms are apparent within a week after getting bit by a mosquito, professional help should be sought immediately.

“There is no need to panic because mosquitoes will be gone as it gets colder from now on and human-to-human transmission does not occur,” Governor of Tokyo Masuzoe said to The Daily Yomiuri. “What is necessary is to be careful not to get bitten by mosquitoes.”

The ISSH administration has already taken precautions by initiating insecticide spraying in the field, playground, and kindergarten area.

“If anyone has any concerns or has any signs of a fever during school, please feel free to visit us,” said Ms. Aratani.