According to the ministry’s situation report, there have been 137 confirmed and probable cases of the mosquito-borne illness as of January 31, 2020.
Among the confirmed cases was New Zealander Mary Maxwell-Rogers, who was in Rarotonga in December last year. She was diagnosed with the dengue type-1 virus.
Maxwell-Rogers said she was on the island from December 18-28 and was diagnosed on December 31 after becoming seriously ill.
She recently contacted the Cook Islands Health ministry who were helpful and had advised that Titikaveka inland and Avarua library, where she spent most of her time, was prone to dengue spreading mosquitoes.
Maxwell-Rogers said she was advised the area would be sprayed.
“We stayed at Vaimaanga and also travelled around the island many times and the only mosquito bites I received were from inside a library and information must be passed that the interior and exterior needed to be sprayed,” she said.
“Most people are unaware the dengue carrying mosquito bites during the day only, so people should use repellent in the day time specially if they are inland or in gardens areas etc. It was such a horrible illness that any information to raise awareness would be good.”
The dengue type-1 outbreak in the Cook Islands was declared on February 27 last year after seven cases were confirmed by the ministry.
The ministry said since the outbreak 49 cases have been confirmed to be hospitalised and discharged including a new case in January. And there were four cases in Aitutaki last year.
Fortunately, there have been no deaths caused by the dengue infection.
According to the situation report there was only one imported case of dengue type 2 (DENV-2) with travel history to Cook Islands was reported by New Zealand ESR (Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd) for the period between February 1 and February 7 this year.
Meanwhile, the public health team continues to battle dengue through its vector control intervention programme around Rarotonga. This includes mosquito larval surveillance and peri-focal spraying.
The ministry has also completed its spraying programme for the 15 schools on Rarotonga.
Unfavourable weather condition continues to be a challenge on Rarotonga, the ministry said.