Te Vaka Te Au O Tonga is where the town and hospital are located; it has been a focus of vector screening to try to get rid of breeding grounds for the mosquitoes that transmit the disease.
Rarotonga has had 98 probable dengue fever cases this year, and Aitutaki has had three, taking the tally to 101. The rest of the Pa Enua remain dengue free.
The number of patients with dengue is not increasing rapidly. Patients’ range from 3-year-old toddlers up to those aged 79.
Director of Hospital Health Services Dr Yin Yin May says there had been only two hospital admissions this month, and those were not because of the seriousness of the patients’ illness, but to isolate them to stop the virus spreading.
“From the beginning of the outbreak to now, there have been no reported deaths attributed to dengue fever,” she said.
The dengue outbreak was announced in late February 2019 following laboratory confirmation of seven dengue type 1 cases.
The virus is transmitted through the bite of infected Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus female mosquitoes that feed both indoors and outdoors during the daytime (from dawn to dusk).
Those with symptoms get ill between four to seven days after the bite.
The infection is characterized by flu-like symptoms which include a sudden high fever coming in separate waves, pain behind the eyes, muscle, joint, and bone pain, severe headache, and a skin rash with red spots.
These mosquitoes thrive in areas with still water, including puddles, water tanks, and containers.