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Dengue spreading in Tonga

Tuesday 3 February 2015 | Published in Regional


NUKU‘ALOFA – A dengue fever outbreak was on Monday declared by the Ministry of Health in Tonga, which has confirmed 33 cases of dengue fever across the islands.

Dr ‘Ofa Tukia, the head of the NCD Health Promotion Unit at the Ministry of Health called on Tongans to be vigilant as dengue fever is a viral disease spread by mosquitoes.

She said of the 33 confirmed cases, 17 were in Tongatapu, 12 in Vava‘u and four in Ha‘apai.

“We expect the number of suspected cases to rise. Since there is no specific treatment or vaccine for dengue fever the best protection against it is to control the breeding places around your house to prevent mosquito bites during an outbreak,” she said.

Symptoms of dengue for adults should be suspected when a high fever is above 38 degrees Celsius with symptoms including severe headache, muscle and joint pains, pain behind eyes, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands or bleeding from any part of the body.

For children symptoms include fever above 38 degrees Celsius, poor drinking, rash, cold or blue extremities and bleeding from any part of the body.

Severe symptoms include abdominal plain, rapid breathing, severe fatigue, persistent vomiting and blood in vomit. Severe dengue can kill so proper medical care is needed to avoid complications and risk of death.

People are advised if they suspect they might have dengue fever to drink plenty of water, take panadol and rest at home. One should also avoid taking aspirin and ibuprofen.