Taiwan: Dengue fever mosquito competition offers prizes

A tiger mosquito Image copyright AP
Image caption Residents of Kaohsiung could win cash for squashing this tiger mosquito and his friends

People in a southern Taiwanese city have been offered prizes for catching mosquitoes.

The contest, announced by the Kaohsiung city health department, is aimed at tackling an outbreak of the mosquito-borne dengue fever in the region. Residents are being asked to catch as many mosquitoes as they can, dead or alive. Whoever captures - or squashes - the greatest number will be rewarded with NT$3,000 (US$100; £62), the health department says. Runners-up will be given free insect repellent and mosquito nets.

People will have to either trap the insects securely or hold on to their remains, because they'll need to be presented to officials for counting. "Instead of fining people who fail to remove standing water and other breeding sites around their homes, we think this program could raise greater community participation," Ho Hui-ping of the city's health department tells the Focus Taiwan website.

More than 7,000 cases of dengue fever have been confirmed in Kaohsiung, with 200 new cases being reported every day, The China Post reports. There have also been dozens of cases of the potentially lethal dengue haemorrhagic fever, a severe form of the infection. The virus is described as a "major international public health concern" by the World Health Organisation, which says in recent years its transmission has increased in urban areas.

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