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Japan battles first dengue fever outbreak in 70 years

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A dengue fever outbreak has hit Japan for the first time in over 70 years with at least 22 confirmed cases, BBC News reported.

The outbreak is believed to have started after visitors to Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park contracted the disease from mosquitoes, according to the country’s health ministry. The last outbreak in Japan was recorded in 1945.

Dengue fever is a tropical disease which causes symptoms such as high fever and severe joint pain.  

Serious cases may require hospitalization and can occasionally develop into a potentially fatal condition called severe dengue, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the country’s health ministry, dengue fever cases in Japan usually come from tourists who catch it while traveling to tropical regions or domestic mosquitoes who pick it up from tourists and pass it on.

The outbreak has been exacerbated by wet summer weather, but authorities said that the onset of fall will help curb the spread of the disease.

Dengue fever is common in more than 100 countries throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America. While there is currently no cure for the disease, medical experts say that avoiding mosquito bites is the best way to prevent transmission.

Click here for more from BBC News.