Japan mobilises against dengue fever in Tokyo

Japan mobilises against dengue fever in Tokyo
A worker spraying insecticide at the Yoyogi park,believed to be the source of the mosquito-borne dengue fever.

TOKYO - Steps are being taken at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward against dengue fever as the number of confirmed infections in the nation continues to climb. In the park, where visitors reportedly contracted the infection, pond water in which mosquitoes might breed was drained, and signs urging people to protect themselves against the insects were set up.

Long sleeves, long trousers

On Monday, workers started to drain pond water around 4 pm. It is expected to take about two days to drain all the water. Workers wearing helmets with mosquito netting vacuumed water out of ditches. Operations to exterminate mosquitoes were not conducted on this day, but the Tokyo metropolitan government will continue monitoring the park.

Some people who use the park worry about safety. A 22-year-old male university student, who came from Suginami Ward, Tokyo, and practiced dancing with his friend there, said with concern: "I visited the park because precautions such as spraying insecticides are being taken. Today, I put on a long-sleeve shirt, which I usually don't wear."

Along park roads, 90 signs were set up, warning, "Be careful of mosquitoes!" and "Please avoid wearing open-toed sandals." The signs urge people to wear long-sleeve shirts and long trousers and use insect repellent.

No. of park visitors drops sharply

Dengue fever is also affecting events to be held in the park. According to the metropolitan government's park management division, a flea market and a bicycle lesson for children set for Saturday were cancelled. Though some events have gone ahead as scheduled because a voluntary ban on use of the park has not been issued, the number of park visitors reportedly sharply decreased since the infections were confirmed.

A woman in her 50s, who works at a park stall, said she lights a mosquito coil every day and applies insect repellent, which she had not used before now. "Of course, the current bad weather has partly affected sales, but they are not recovering [due to fear of the disease]. I hope the park will return to normal, where people can play at ease," she said.

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