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Published On: Mon, Mar 17th, 2014

New Zealand health officials warn travelers of dengue risk in the Pacific

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) in an advisory today is warning travelers to the various Pacific islands to ensure they take the appropriate measures to prevent mosquito bites as the mosquito borne viruses, dengue, Zika and chikungunya is being seen in outbreak or increased levels.

The  ARPHS specifically mentions the following in the release:

A female Aedes aegypti mosquito Image/CDC

A female Aedes aegypti mosquito
Image/CDC

Since October 2013, Fiji has recorded more than 10,000 cases of dengue fever, with 11 deaths. Dengue has also emerged in French Polynesia, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. Zika virus, which is similar to dengue, is widespread in French Polynesia, with cases also in New Caledonia and the Cook Islands. Another similar virus, chikungunya, has recently caused an outbreak in Papua New Guinea.

Because of travel to the above Pacific islands, the number of dengue cases recorded in Auckland is 35 since Jan. 1, most cases originating from Fiji.

“Dengue fever can be a severe illness. Those who travel to the Pacific frequently are at risk of repeat infections with different strains of the dengue virus. This can lead to dengue hemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal. This is heightened by the fact that, for the first time in 20 years, the dengue 3 strain is active in the region”, Medical Officer of Health Dr Simon Baker said.

Dengue fever is an infectious disease carried by mosquitoes and caused by any of four related dengue viruses. This disease used to be called “break-bone fever” because it sometimes causes severe joint and muscle pain that feels like bones are breaking.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there may be 50–100 million dengue infections worldwide every year. However, new research from the University of Oxford and the Wellcome Trust, using cartographic approaches, estimate there to be 390 million dengue infections per year worldwide.

There are three types of dengue fever in order of less severe to most: the typical uncomplicated dengue fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHS) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS).

There is not a vaccine for dengue fever. There is no treatment for dengue, just treat the symptoms.

The ARPHS offers the following tips on preventing mosquito bites:

  •  Wearing lightly-coloured clothing that covers your arms and legs, along with a hat and shoes,
  •   Applying insect repellent, containing 40% diethyl tolumide (DEET), to skin and clothing, and 
  •   Staying in accommodation that is air-conditioned, or has screens on doors and windows. 

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page and the Outbreak News This Week Radio Show page.

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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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