News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Dengue fever outbreaks in Pacific prompt health warning

Dengue fever outbreaks in Pacific prompt health warning


With dengue fever outbreaks across the Pacific, Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) is advising anyone travelling to the region to take steps to avoid mosquito bites.

Since October 2013, Fiji has recorded more than 10,000 cases of dengue fever, with 11 deaths. Dengue has also emerged in French Polynesia, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. Zika virus, which is similar to dengue, is widespread in French Polynesia, with cases also in New Caledonia and the Cook Islands. Another similar virus, chikungunya, has recently caused an outbreak in Papua New Guinea.
As a result, Auckland is seeing more dengue fever than ever, with 35 cases so far in 2014. 24 of these cases have come from Fiji alone.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Simon Baker urges anyone travelling to these countries to exercise caution.

“Dengue fever can be a severe illness. Those who travel to the Pacific frequently are at risk of repeat infections with different strains of the dengue virus. This can lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal. This is heightened by the fact that, for the first time in 20 years, the dengue 3 strain is active in the region.”

Dengue fever symptoms begin with a high fever and severe headache. Nausea and vomiting are common, as are joint and muscle pain. The illness can last up to ten days, although people can feel tired and depressed for weeks. Zika and chikungunya cause similar, but often milder illnesses.

There is no vaccine for dengue fever, Zika or chikungunya. The only way to prevent infection, says Dr Baker, is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
“Although the commonest time for bites is early morning and late afternoon, dengue-carrying mosquitoes also bite all through the day.”

The best protection from mosquito bites include:

· Wearing lightly-coloured clothing that covers your arms and legs, along with a hat and shoes,

· Applying insect repellent, containing 40% diethyl tolumide (DEET), to skin and clothing, and

· Staying in accommodation that is air-conditioned, or has screens on doors and windows.

Dr Baker says anyone returning from overseas with dengue symptoms, or feeling generally unwell, should contact their GP or Healthline and let them know where they travelled. Paracetamol is recommended rather than aspirin, as aspirin can increase the risk of bleeding.

New Zealand mosquitoes do not carry dengue virus, and it is not spread person to person. Despite this, says Dr Baker, “dengue is not a disease you want to bring home. By taking precautions, you can reduce the risk of infection and have a more enjoyable trip.”

Number of dengue fever cases as at 14 March 2014:

· Fiji: Over 10,000 (11 deaths)

· French Polynesia: 1,741

· Vanuatu: 887

· New Caledonia: 101

· Queensland, Australia: 125

· Cook Islands: 47

Number of Zika virus cases as at 14 March 2014:
· French Polynesia: 29,000

· New Caledonia: 171

· Cook Islands: 19

(Sources: ProMED, Pacnet)
ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Game Review: Midsomer Murders Meets First Year Philosophy

Developed by The Chinese Room, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture sees the player exploring what appears to be a recently abandoned idyllic English village trying to figure out where everybody's gone. Spoiler: they've gone to the rapture. (On a serious note, this review contains plot spoilers.) More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Clear Science

It was really after his move to Wellington, to Victoria University, that it became apparent that Sir Paul Cllaghan was much more than an eminent physicist... More>>

ALSO:

Francis Cook: Weekend SportzMania! All Blacks! Netball!

Sports were on all weekend. I normally don’t write about sports but with Richie McCaw tipped to be the next Prime Minister, and Colin Craig arguing sports are almost as important as politics, I thought “what better time to start!” More>>

ALSO:

Beervana: Aussie Pav Beer Declared Taste Of NZ

In a surprising upset, an Australian beer modelled on the pavlova, created by Brisbane brewery Newstead Brewing, the 250 Beers blog and Scratch Bar, has been announced the winner at the Beervana craft beer festival ‘Flag Brew’ competition, which challenged media and brewing teams to capture the distinctive taste of New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Transport: Air NZ Teams Up With All Blacks For Men In Black Video

Inspired by the Columbia Pictures global film franchise Men in Black, Air New Zealand’s latest safety instalment features All Blacks’ Captain Richie McCaw and Dan Carter as Men in Black agents. More>>

ALSO:

World Champions: BRADAS Of Identity Company Take On The World And Win Gold

This is only the second time since NZ has qualified for the HHI world finals that NZ has taken home a GOLD medal in this division. REQUEST Dance Crew being the only other NZ crew to achieve this. New Zealands only other medal this year was Silver for the Royal Family in a very close final in the Megacrew division. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Contrary To Popular Belief - Lloyd Geering

Many older Dunediners like myself, and indeed older Presbyterians and others throughout the country, will remember the controversy aroused by the articles and speeches of Professor Geering, Principal of Knox College Theological Hall in the late 1960s... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news