The ministry revealed details of the programme following revelations that Fiji has recorded 900 dengue fever cases including a death, since the beginning of this year.
The Fijian health ministry in a statement said dengue fever cases were high in the age group of 10 to 29 years, with more males contracting the fever than females.
With a constant flow of people travelling between Cook Islands and Fiji, the local authority said they have an effective programme to ensure the Cook Islands population is safe from the fever. Health protection officer Charlie Ave said the ministry had a wide range of activities under the Integrated Vector Bourne Management (IVM) programme to keep mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue at bay.
“There is a roll-on TV awareness programme being played during the arrival of all international flights targeting mosquito borne disease including dengue fever, zika and chikugunya and other infectious diseases,” Ave said.
“All passengers coming from countries where these diseases are present will be interviewed and advised by our port health officer(s) on call.
“There is also monitoring, surveillance of mosquito breeding and resting places at the ports (airport, seaport) twice a month including larvicide and aerial spraying if required.”
Ave said border control programmes had been quite effective in the past in safeguarding the nation from other mosquito-borne diseases prevalent in neighbouring countries.
He said they would continue with their media campaign on TV, radio and in newspapers to inform the public.
Ave encouraged Cook Islands residents to clean their properties and ensure they were free from mosquito breeding or resting places
“Same applies to the ports. We will continue with our mosquito larvicide programmes twice a month in the villages and also in Te Pa Enua. ”
The World Health Organisation says dengue has rapidly spread around the globe in recent years. Dengue virus is transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedes aegypti and, to a lesser extent, Ae. albopictus. - RK