Perifocal, or block spraying, for mosquitos has been a vital part of Te Marae Ora’s efforts to control dengue fever. 20110645
Ministry of Health is resuming mosquito block spraying programme following reports of people presenting with dengue-like symptoms in Rarotonga.
There are fears dengue fever is back just little over two
months after Te Marae Ora health ministry officially declared the outbreak in
the Cook Islands over.
The Health ministry yesterday confirmed that in recent
weeks, they have noticed an increase in the number of people presenting with
However, the ministry is waiting for final confirmation as
test samples are being sent to New Zealand for analysis.
Te Marae Ora said: “This is not a dissimilar time to when
people started getting infected last year. The weather patterns lately have
lent themselves to ideal conditions for mosquitos to breed. This also means
that some places around the island need a good clean up.”
Health spokesperson Jaewynn McKay says test samples of the
latest probable cases are being sent to New Zealand for analysis. Cook Islands
News understands 15 probable cases have been recorded in recent weeks.
Once the real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
laboratory is up and running, McKay said they would be able to do these tests
in-country. The laboratory which will also significantly improve Cook Islands’
Covid-19 testing capabilities is expected to be ready by the end of next month.
Acting Secretary for Health Dr Tereapii Uka said: “People
diagnosed with dengue should stay home, away from others and they should
discourage visitors. The use of mosquito nets and coils is also a good
Dr Uka said the best way for people to play their part in
the prevention of another dengue outbreak “is by keeping their yards and outdoor
areas clean and eliminating potential mosquito resting and breeding sites”.
The Health ministry is also recommencing the mosquito block
spraying programme from today (weather permitting). The spraying will take place in the
Ngatangiia-Turangi, Avana, Muri area.
Spraying in Titikaveka-Tikioki, Turoa and Vaimaanga is
expected tomorrow followed by Blackrock-Arorangi sport field on Friday. On
Saturday, the health officials will carry out mosquito block spraying programme
from the National Stadium to the Tepuka bus stop. Spraying will resume on
Monday February 1 and February 2 around school areas.
“Te Marae Ora apologises for any inconvenience caused but
advises those who live in the affected areas to take washing off the clothes
lines, close your windows, cover cooking and eating utensils, tables and
benches that are outside and please stay clear and stay indoors for 30 minutes
after the spraying has completed.”
The dengue outbreak was declared “over” by Te Marae Ora in
November last year.
From the time of the initial declaration of a dengue
outbreak in February 2019, 380 probable or confirmed cases were reported across
the Cook Islands, including six in Aitutaki and five in Pukapuka.
Of those, 77 people were admitted to hospital, but no deaths
were attributed to dengue infection.
In the years 2019 and 2020, there was an increase in the
number of cases between the months of February and May, then a continuing
downward trend in the remainder of the year.
In 2019, a total of 127 cases were reported with three
DenV-2 cases and 47 people hospitalised.
Last year alone, the ministry recorded a total of 253 cases
with 58 dengue type 2 cases. Thirty people were hospitalised.