A second wave of dengue fever may hit the city next week as students are starting their new academic year, an expert on infectious diseases warned Monday, with confirmed cases already at a record high.

Dr Leung Chi-chiu, chairman of the Medical Association’s Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases, said on a Radio Television Hong Kong program that the disease could be carried to other parts of the city by people who have yet to show any symptoms.

They could transmit the virus when they were bitten by mosquitoes, which in turn would infect a new group of carriers. Schools are a natural breeding ground for dengue because of the large gatherings of people.

Two more cases were identified on Saturday, according to the Center for Health Protection, bringing the total number of victims this year to a record high of 26, Apple Daily reported.

The latest victims are a 39-year-old woman and a 40-year-old man, who were on the island of Cheung Chau during the incubation period.

Seven of those diagnosed with the fever live on Cheung Chau and two  had recently visited the island. The others had visited Lion Rock Country Park or Wong Tai Sin in Kowloon, where the park is located.

A large-scale operation aimed at controlling mosquitos was conducted on Cheung Chau island on Monday.