Fumigation pending

A case of dengue fever saw my building receive a compulsory emergency spray notice…

A two-page compulsory emergency dengue fever spray notice taped to the wall of an elevator.
“Kaohsiung Municipal Government enforces dengue fever emergency spray notice.” Photo: Zhen-Kang.

So far this year, there have been over 25,000 dengue fever cases and 56 dengue fever deaths in Taiwan. It’s the worst outbreak since 2015, when 218 people were killed.

Currently, the epicenter is in Tainan, 50km from Kaohsiung. But this afternoon, the virus got much closer: A confirmed case less than 100 meters away saw a compulsory fumigation notice appear in my building’s elevator.

A partial translation follows:

Kaohsiung Municipal Government enforces dengue fever emergency spray notice

Hello dear citizens,

Due to confirmed cases of dengue fever in this community, in order to quickly eliminate virus-carrying mosquitoes and avoid re-infection of others, the time of spraying is 8:40am to 11:00am on December 16.

To ensure thorough implementation of this epidemic prevention work, please cooperate with the following matters:

  1. The spraying area includes the atrium of your building, the basement, and all other indoor and outdoor public spaces.
  2. The spray is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. The main ingredient is synthetic pyrethrum compound (the dose used is only enough to kill mosquitoes, with extremely low toxicity for humans, but it is highly toxic for insects and fish).
  3. You may be inconvenienced during the spraying period, but please cooperate to maintain the health of our citizens. If you refuse the spraying work, you will be fined up to NT$300,000 (NZ$15,000).
  4. Only by removing the breeding sources can we stop the spread of dengue fever. You must clear stagnant water containers to prevent the growth of mosquitoes. Each time stagnant water is found, you will be fined up to NT$15,000 (NZ$750).
  5. If you have any doubts, please contact the district cleaning team.

Precautions for spraying

  • If you raise fish or shrimp, your aquarium should be tightly covered. Temporarily turn off the pump.
  • Remove other pets from the building.
  • Turn off smoke alarms.
  • Once the spraying is complete, wait 30 minutes before entering.
  • Wear a mask, or hold your mouth and nose, and fully ventilate the area before resuming indoor activities.

Dec 16 update: Everything went fine.