Dengue likely to have no effect on potential travel bubble, government says

Monday 22 February 2021 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Health, National

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Dengue likely to have no effect on potential travel bubble, government says
Perifocal, or block spraying, for mosquitos has been a vital part of Te Marae Ora’s efforts to control dengue fever. 20110645

Increasing number of confirmed and suspected dengue cases will not affect the timeline of the two-way quarantine free travel with New Zealand.

According to latest numbers provided by Te Marae Ora (TMO) Ministry of Health, the number of confirmed cases of the more concerning type 2 of the virus remains at 14.

However, probable cases have increased from 17 to 23 and there are now 59 suspected cases, which indicates the virus could be spreading rapidly. At least 12 cases have been admitted to hospital. However a spokesperson for the Cook Islands Government told Stuff the outbreak is unlikely to affect the timing of the travel bubble.

“At this stage – probably not,” the spokesperson said.

“This is not the first time the Cook Islands has had a dengue outbreak and so it has the necessary experience to address this situation.”

The spokesperson was unable to offer any indication of timing for the bubble, saying “Cook Islands border and health officials continue to work at pace on outstanding issues related to quarantine free travel with the support from colleagues in New Zealand.”

New Zealand’s Ministry of Health says, “You can’t catch dengue from another person. The mosquitoes that spread dengue are not commonly found in New Zealand.”

A situation report issued February 19 by the Cook Island’s Te Marae Ora (its Ministry of Health), showed a significant spike of probable cases through February. Officials are now working to ensure this latest outbreak doesn’t balloon in numbers.

The Cook Islands News says the outbreak was “declared over last November by health officials after 380 probable or confirmed cases were reported across the Cook Islands, including six in Aitutaki and five in Pukapuka”.

In early February, Te Marae Ora said, “a student who travelled back to Auckland recently... tested positive for dengue has been admitted to hospital in Auckland as a precaution, isolating the person from others.”

  • Additional reporting from Stuff