THE World Health Organisation (WHO) says the appearance of the mosquito-borne disease chikungunya in the Pacific is cause for concern.
According to Pacnews, two cases of chikungunya have been confirmed in New Caledonia, symptoms of which are similar to dengue.
Dr Jacob Kool, a WHO infectious disease expert in Fiji, has told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat there are concerns this could lead to a serious outbreak in New Caledonia.
"That's definitely a worry. Normally, chikungunya is a disease in Africa and Asia, so it's spread to the Indian Ocean," he said.
"And you can see what happens when the population has never had a disease before, then it spreads much faster because there's nobody that has any immunity, no resistance to the disease."
In 2005 a serious outbreak on the Indian Ocean island of La Reunion caused around 100 deaths.