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Dengue fever worries as test day draws near

Monday 15 June 2015 | Published in Regional


APIA – Samoa is on high alert for a fatal strain of dengue that has hit neighbouring American Samoa, New Zealand’s TV One News reported on Sunday.

Thousands of visitors are expected to visit Samoa in three weeks when the All Blacks play Samoa on home ground, but the dengue health scare is worrying local authorities after at least two people died of the mosquito-borne virus.

Samoa is fumigating every one of the five daily flights from nearby American Samoa in a bid to catch the virus at its border.

“The concern is that we are very close to American Samoa and the likelihood of getting cases here is quite high,” Ministry of Health chief executive Toleafoa Dr Take Naseri said.

“We are doing very focused spraying at the hospitals we are also spraying all the points of entry, the airports, the wharf– this is border security.”

Officials in American Samoa are investigating the unusual killer strain where victims deteriorate rapidly, while medical experts believe dengue and other mosquito borne diseases are increasing in the Pacific.

“I am concerned, recently in the last six to twelve months or so we have seen an insidious creeping of these other two infections zika and chikingunya into this region.” Worldwise Travel Doctor Dr Marc Shaw told TV One News.

Last year New Zealand recorded the highest ever number of reported dengue cases, 179, significantly higher from the year before.

So far this year there’s been eighty cases but that number is predicted to climb.