Dengue: 18 confirmed, 12 probable

Friday April 12, 2019 Written by Published in National

Community Health Services director Dr Tereapii Uka said that as of Wednesday the Ministry for Health has 18 confirmed and 12 probable dengue fever cases.

 

This is a total of 30 cases compared to 24 previously identified.

Dr Uka however said the number of cases was steadily increasing.

“I would say it is stabilised in comparison to when we had the first cases. We were getting a few cases per week, but now we are starting to experience one case a week or a case every two weeks. It is more in control,” Dr Uka said.

He said people are still visiting the hospital showing symptoms of dengue such as headaches, muscle pain, abdominal pain or sore eyes.

“What we do is make sure we do a blood test to find out whether they have it (dengue) or don’t have it, and if they don’t it could be some other viral infection.”

Dr Uka said the ministry was collecting data on a daily basis to see if the dengue cases were increasing.

“But at this moment it is steady, it could have been worse, numbers could have increased (more quickly).”

He said so far there have been no recent cases from the Aroa area where the first dengue case was reported.

Dr Uka said at the moment more cases are from Takuvaine, Kiikii, Pokoinu and Nikao and there are fewer or no cases in the Titikaveka, Matavera and Ngatangiia areas.

Dr Uka said there have been a number of public awareness programmes that have taken place but the main factor is where the mosquitoes are breeding.

He said these mosquitoes can be breeding in an area that has garden tyres or areas with overgrown grass and these breeding sites causes an increase in the number of dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

“We are happy that there are a lot of people who have responded to cleaning their home surroundings, but there are still a few that need to be reminded.”

He said it was not fair that while some families are keeping their home environment clean, those families who have left their home and gone abroad create an environment for mosquito breeding sites if it is not well looked after.

Dr Uka revealed that in the last clean-up campaign known as Operation Namu, the Community Health Department was given some funds from government to go out and clean all these areas that needed cleaning.

Giving Aroa as an example, Dr Uka said the team did an excellent job with the community to clean up the area.

“This is where the first cases of dengue started, now there are no cases what so ever because the community have engaged themselves, this was a community effort.

“The government gave the funds, we select staff from the Community Health Services to be in charge of their districts, go out into their districts to encourage the community to use the funds to clean the area, the properties, by paying for tractors, buying fuel, ways to clean the area.”

Dr Uka said with this the ministry no longer uses the peri-focal spray to spray dengue mosquito breeding sites for those people identified to have been infected with dengue.

He said now the ministry sprays the whole block area of a village that have been identified with dengue cases.

“Note that the mosquitoes that carry this virus can only fly up to 200m, so infected humans are the ones carrying them (the virus) around, and if there are breeding sites that mosquitoes can breed, it will spread.”

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