Spraying to kill mosquitos helps to prevent the spread of viruses such as dengue and Zika.
Regional health experts have been called in to support Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health with a mystery virus circulating in Rarotonga.
health officials have requested support from the World Health Organisation
(WHO) to assist with an investigation into an unidentified virus that has been
circulating among Rarotonga residents.
affected say they have experienced symptoms similar to those associated with
dengue fever, however many blood tests carried out by Te Marae Ora Ministry of
Health (TMO) have returned negative results for dengue.
health officials have said they know little about the virus, and it is not
known how many have been infected.
public health specialist Dr Anura Jayasinghe said officials held a meeting with
the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Pacific region office on Friday.
said WHO officials will be conducting an analysis on a number of patients’
follows the WHO instruction and work for the epidemiological investigation,” he
the Cook Islands has capabilities to test for dengue fever, testing to
determine the exact strain or identify a specific virus must be carried out in
carried out in early April in New Zealand on blood samples of local residents
have not indicated the presence of Zika or Chikungunya in the Cook Islands, TMO
further testing has been carried out in NZ since, Jayasinghe said.
response to the situation, which was first reported in Cook Islands News last
month, has come under public scrutiny recently.
week, Titikaveka MP Selina Napa said the health ministry has lagged in its
response to the situation and should have requested the support of the WHO
said TMO must improve its response to what she described as a worsening
disclosure that a mystery dengue-like virus may be present on Rarotonga must
prompt Te Marae Ora to make the quickest response to what appears to be a
worsening situation,” she said.
of my family have been sick with dengue-like symptoms, but returned negative
tests, so I am aware that this presents a serious issue for us to deal with
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 timing to the response is critical as the country prepares for two-way
quarantine-free travel with New Zealand later this month, as well as a planned
Covid-19 vaccine rollout.
comments coincide with a type-2 dengue outbreak that is continuing to spread in
Rarotonga and has affected three outer islands, including Mauke, Aitutaki, and
to a TMO report released this week, there have been 343, confirmed, suspected
and probable cases of type-2 dengue in the Cook Islands.
total of 38 of those cases have resulted in hospitalisations.
contain the outbreak, Jayasinghe said members of the public should remove
mosquito breeding sites from their properties to eliminate the risk of