Dengue bites in Pa Enua

Friday August 28, 2020 Written by Published in Health
Nine more probable cases on Pukapuka. 17011121 Nine more probable cases on Pukapuka. 17011121

Blood tests have been sent to New Zealand to confirm whether island faces outbreak. 

Pukapuka islanders will today hold a massive clean-up around the island to eradicate dengue mosquito breeding places.

Pukapuka nursing officer Tohoa Cummings said there were now nine probable cases whose blood had been sampled locally.

The nine were in the primary stages – meaning they could self-care without having to be admitted to the hospital.

“Dengue is in control and we have had no new cases this week,” she said.

Health ministry Te Marae Ora spokesperson Jaewynn McKay said they were awaiting test results from New Zealand to confirm whether or not there were any more cases. There was still just the one confirmed case, she said.

The first case of the mosquito-borne disease was reported on Pukapuka in July, and was thought to have been introduced in May by some of the 13 residents returning to the islands, by boat or plane.

The ministry said perifocal spraying was implemented by public health staff following risk assessments at the infected person’s residence. Public health staff remained on alert.

Cummings said cleaning had begun in the three villages and they would have a massive clean-up today, with the Aronga Mana and the Island Council working hand-in-hand to eradicate dengue.

“Through the Tutaka programme, we will inspect houses and their surroundings. But so far it has been good, people are responding to the call of cleaning and destroying mosquito breeding places.”

However, the weather had not been on the islanders’ side. Cummings said they had experienced rain and strong winds this week, delaying the spraying.

She called on those travelling to Pukapuka or the Pa Enua to be vigilant, and get themselves tested first.

The upsurge of cases on Pukapuka coincides with a slowdown of the infection rate on Rarotonga. Earlier this month, Te Marae Ora said the number of dengue cases in Rarotonga was declining but they did remain on high alert.

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