A Matavera Puna team during a dengue clean-up campaign and dengue spraying late last year. Photo: MATAVERA PUNA/21020310
Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health says dengue is being brought under control in Rarotonga, yet questions remain over the ministry’s handling of the ongoing outbreak.
says its most recent data shows dengue is getting under control, but it has
stopped short of declaring an end to the outbreak.
Marae Ora Ministry of Health (TMO) said the number of probable cases has been
declining since mid-April, with seven cases recorded for the second week of
May, compared with 12 in mid-April and a peak of 24 probable cases in February.
to TMO data released earlier this month, there have been 343 confirmed,
suspected and probable cases of type-2 dengue in the Cook Islands as of May 4.
outbreak has resulted in at least 38 hospitalisations.
did not respond to a request by Cook Islands News yesterday for more recent
statistics by the time this story went to press.
the outbreak, which was formally declared in early February, almost all cases
have been in Rarotonga, with one probable case on each of Aitutaki, Mangaia and
cases are defined by TMO as having tested positive for the NS1 non-structural
protein of the dengue virus.
order for a case to be confirmed however, blood samples must be sent to New
Zealand for further analysis. It is understood the most recent testing carried
out in NZ occurred during the first two weeks of April.
particular concern during the current outbreak has been incidences of negative
test results for dengue by some residents, despite those residents becoming ill
and exhibiting many of the telltale symptoms of the virus.
this month, TMO requested the support of the World Health Organisation to
assist with its investigation into the matter.
a statement yesterday, Secretary of Health Bob Williams said no new virus has
been identified as being present in the country, and only type-2 dengue has
been detected thus far.
carried out in early April have ruled out the presence of Zika or Chikungunya –
both mosquito-borne viruses, TMO said.
is not known how many people have tested negative for dengue despite exhibiting
symptoms of the virus.
said TMO staff and the general public have been working together to bring the
outbreak under control.
tutaka household and property inspections have been ongoing this month and the
results have been good, as most people seem to be doing what they can to reduce
mosquito breeding sites on their properties,” he said.
a case is confirmed as positive, TMO typically sends out a team to spray the
residence where the sick individual resides, targeting mosquito breeding areas.
several residents who have tested negative despite falling ill with dengue-like
symptoms told Cook Islands News their properties have not been sprayed.
of the public and the political opposition have criticised TMO’s response to
people need to be reassured that TMO is on top of this and is doing all it can
to determine exactly what illness our people are suffering from,” said
Titikaveka MP Selina Napa earlier this month.
has a duty to be absolutely transparent at all times,” she said.