It was last reported that there were 18 confirmed cases of dengue and 12 probable cases, a total of 30.
Director of Hospital Health Services, Dr Yin Yin May told CI News that the 18 confirmed cases remain, while there are now a total of 22 probable cases - 19 reported in Rarotonga and three in Aitutaki.
Dr May said that the containment of the dengue virus in the Cook Islands has helped it from spreading further, as they have observed that the hospital does not receive dengue cases on a daily basis.
She said there are no more cases of dengue identified in Aitutaki at the moment. She said the three probable cases recently reported involved a family on the island.
For Rarotonga Hospital, Dr May said a patient went to the hospital with some other problem but upon a blood test, the medical team identified that he had the dengue virus.
“With the one admitted, he was identified on April 27. It was an incidental finding. He came with some other problem on April 26, he didn’t come with dengue symptoms. The next day we checked for bloods and we diagnosed it as positive, he didn’t come with the usual dengue symptoms,” Dr May said.
She advised that the ministry continues to reiterate that the public must protect themselves especially during the daytime from dengue-carrying mosquitoes.
Dr May said according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), those who have been identified as having the dengue virus must stay under a mosquito net for at least two weeks, as they can transmit the infection for up to 12 days.
WHO says the dengue mosquito Aedes aegypti is the primary vector of dengue and the virus is transmitted to humans through the bites of infected female mosquitoes. After virus incubation for 4–10 days, an infected mosquito is capable of transmitting the virus for the rest of its life.
WHO further states that Aedes aegypti mosquito lives in urban habitats and breeds mostly in man-made containers. Unlike other mosquitoes, it is a day-time feeder; its peak biting periods are early in the morning and in the evening before dusk.
The mosquito can bite multiple people during each feeding period. Aedes eggs can remain dry for over a year in their breeding habitat and hatch when in contact with water.
In a recent news release from the WHO, it stated that the infection causes flu-like illness, and occasionally develops into a potentially lethal complication called severe dengue and the global incidence of dengue has grown dramatically in recent decades.
WHO added that there is no specific treatment for dengue/severe dengue, but early detection and access to proper medical care lowers fatality rates and dengue prevention and control depends on effective vector control measures.