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16 dengue fever fatalities in Taiwan

TAIPEI, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- A total of 13,030 Taiwan residents have contracted dengue fever this year, with 16 deaths reported, the island's disease control authorities said Tuesday.

Among the infections, 109 are diagnosed with dengue hemorrhagic fever, the most serious type of the disease, all of whom are from the worst hit area Kaohsiung City in southern Taiwan.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne, potentially fatal disease that affects up to 100 million people in tropical and subtropical regions every year, causing fever and muscle pain.

This year Taiwan has experienced its worst outbreak of the disease in the past decade, exceeding previous years, when cases rarely exceeded 2,000, according to the disease control authority.

Warm weather since April this year and increased rain fall have been blamed for the outbreak in Kaohsiung.

The spread of the disease has currently eased with a decrease in the number of new cases, said Chou Jih-haw, spokesman of the disease control authority.

"We should continue to take the threat seriously as about 1,000 new infections can still be seen each week," Chou added.

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