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Asia Minute: Mosquito-borne Viruses Plague Two Asian Capitols

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Mosquito-borne illnesses are a concern in various parts of the world. They range from dengue and West Nile virus to yellow fever. Two other diseases are a current worry in a pair of Asian capitols. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

More than a thousand people in the Indian capital of New Delhi have come down with chikungunya this summer.  That’s a virus that is spread by mosquitoes.  It attacks the joints—and can cause high fever.

It’s usually not fatal, but The Indian Express newspaper reports nearly a dozen people in the city have died from complications of the disease.  The fatalities generally strike older patients—but in younger people the virus can be debilitating.  Some local media are reporting the current outbreak is so bad that it’s holding up a number of public works construction projects, because so many construction workers are getting sick.

In Singapore, it’s the Zika virus that’s concerning officials.  On Wednesday, 8 new cases were reported. Bringing the total to more than 340 since late August.  An article in the Asian Scientist magazine says it’s not clear why Singapore has experienced this outbreak of Zika.  The World Health Organization has praised Singapore’s response to the outbreak—which has included a massive deployment of government workers to destroy likely habitats and breeding grounds for mosquitoes.  But officials worry an extended outbreak of Zika may start to affect Singapore’s tourism industry.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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