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TOKYO - A Tokyo park has been branded a dengue fever hotspot amid Japan's first homegrown outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease since 1945, health officials said on Tuesday. According to public broadcaster NHK, 34 people have been stricken with the virus that kills around 22,000 worldwide every year. All became infected when they visited the popular Yoyogi Park in central Tokyo, according to Japan's Health Ministry. Officials have drained the park's pond and warned the public to avoid mosquitoes.
Although several dengue cases are reported in Japan every year, they have until now been limited to those who contracted the disease overseas, health officials said. "There is no need for panic. As long as people are treated properly, I think it should be fine,” Health Minister Norihisa Tamura said during a daily briefing. "What we need to be careful of, however, is about the elderly, younger children and infants."