• Kyodo News

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The heatstroke toll continues to rise, with 52,017 people taken by ambulance to hospitals nationwide between May 31 and Sunday, including 4,962 last week alone, according to a preliminary report by the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

Of the total, 168 people have died since the crisis started, the agency said Tuesday.

An agency official urged people to take steps to prevent heatstroke because sweltering temperatures are expected to continue, mentioning cases of groups of students falling ill Monday at junior high schools in Chiba and Shizuoka prefectures.

According to the agency’s report, patients diagnosed with severe symptoms made up 3.4 percent of the total, while 35.2 percent showed moderate symptoms and 57.8 percent had mild symptoms.

By age bracket, people aged 65 and above accounted for 46.6 percent of the cases. By prefecture, Tokyo had the largest number of patients for the entire reporting period at 4,055 as well as during last week at 390.

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