Published On: Wed, Apr 16th, 2014

Chikungunya outbreak on Tonga affects more than 10,000: Health ministry

The Pacific island chain of Tonga is in a battle with a disease they are experiencing for the first time, the mosquito borne viral disease, chikungunya, according to the country’s Ministry of Health director, Dr Siale Akau’ola.

Female Aedes aegypti mosquito Image/James Gathany

Female Aedes aegypti mosquito
Image/James Gathany

In an interview with Radio Australia’s  Catherine Graue, Dr. Akau’ola said, ” this is the first time for Tonga to have chikungunya in the country. It has been going on for at least a month now, but I think we feel that we are at its peak now. I think we are plateauing off and we are hopeful that it will start to go down within the coming few weeks.”

Because the viral outbreak is new to the country, the ministry is taking advice from the World Health Organisation and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community to manage the outbreak. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.

Concerning case counts on the archipelago, Akau’ola revised the previous number of 3,000 in the interview, “Actually, it’s more than 3,000, I believe it’s probably more than 10,000. ” Dr. Akau’ola notes that there has been two fatalities in children; however, it is suspected that dengue hemorrhagic fever is the culprit based on clinical presentation. Dengue fever has been confirmed in a handful of cases on the island.

Chikungunya is characterized by an abrupt onset of fever frequently accompanied by joint pain. Other common signs and symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. The joint pain is often very debilitating, but usually lasts for a few days or may be prolonged to weeks.

There is no cure for the disease. Treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms.




About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. […] reported cases of chikungunya in New Caledonia and a large outbreak in Tonga this year, French Polynesian health authorities are reporting the first imported case of the […]

  2. […] reported cases of chikungunya in New Caledonia and a large outbreak in Tonga this year, French Polynesian health authorities are reporting the first imported case of the […]

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