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Yoyogi Park set to reopen on receding risk of dengue infection

Kyodo

Central Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park was to reopen on Friday morning after it was closed for nearly two months due to the threat of mosquitoes carrying dengue fever, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said.

A large part of the park was closed on Sept. 4 after visitors developed dengue fever and virus-carrying mosquitoes were found there. The virus, which causes the fever, can be transmitted by mosquitoes.

The decision to reopen the park comes as the mosquito population there has fallen due to cold temperatures and no mosquitoes caught there have tested positive for the virus since Sept. 18, according to the metropolitan government.

Given that mosquitoes are known to have a life span of 30 to 40 days, a metropolitan government official said: “It’s extremely unlikely for virus carrying mosquitoes to remain in the park.”

The park, which is located in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward near the Harajuku district, a center of Japanese youth culture and fashion, was set to reopen at 9 a.m. on Friday.

Roughly 160 people have been infected with the virus in Japan since August. Most are believed to have contracted the virus at the park or in the surrounding area.

Seeking to prevent a similar outbreak next year, metropolitan government officials will now take measures such as spraying insecticide at fountains and other spots with water, to help keep mosquitoes from breeding.

Prior to this year, no domestic dengue infection had been confirmed in Japan since 1945.