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Dengue Update – 28 March 2019

Since declaring DENV-1 in Rarotonga earlier this year, dengue notifications to the Ministry of Health now total 24 cases (18 confirmed, six probable) with half being female. The age range of cases is six to 71 years (<15 years n=5, 15-44 years n=11, >45 years n=8).

While initial dengue cases were clustered around Aroa and KiiKii over the past fortnight, seven dengue cases were residents of Pokoinu (2), Tepuka (1), Tupapa (2), Matavera (1) and Inave (1).

There are no reports of dengue in the Pa Enua.

Public Health teams are continuing their daily mosquito larvae surveillance and monitoring programmes on Rarotonga and Aitutaki. These have focused on surveillance around the hospitals and ports of entry (airports and harbours) as well as Punanga Nui. Mosquito larvae surveillance is
also extending to the schools, not only to support monitoring efforts, but also to provide students the opportunity to learn the scientific basis for surveillance and to participate in the implementation of mosquito control strategies. Enhanced vector control strategies have extended to the Pa Enua. Peri-focal spraying of the homes of confirmed and probable cases is continuing.

The Ministry of Health is working with the Ministry of Corrective Services to conduct weekly cleaning of the Rarotonga hospital grounds. Public health officials are contacting members of the community to facilitate the removal of old vehicles that are providing breeding and resting environments for mosquitoes.

All dengue cases are being provided mosquito bed nets to use for up to two weeks, to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. This will help minimise the risk of mosquitoes spreading the dengue virus to other people.

The public are reminded to:

  1. Keep home and work environments clean – safely dispose water-retaining containers.
  2. Avoid mosquito bites – cover up, use mosquito bed nets and repellents, screen homes.
  3. See your doctor if you develop fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, or muscle aches.
  4. Avoid mosquito bites when visiting other countries experiencing dengue outbreak.

Secretary of Health Dr Herman is progressing discussions with WHO and SPC to secure mosquito vector control expertise, to address the current dengue outbreak and to support the medium to longer term plan to eliminate the aedes mosquito. “We appreciate the ongoing support from
Cabinet, Members of Parliament and our Government agencies” says Dr Herman. “We also acknowledge the collaborative work we are undertaking with our communities.”

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