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Fiji Time: 8:38 PM on Thursday 24 April

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Dengue on the up

Tevita Vuibau
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A NEW strain of dengue suspected to be present in the country could have been brought in by an overseas traveler.

Communicable diseases acting national adviser Dr Mike Kama yesterday said an unusually high number of dengue cases were recorded in the last week.

He explained there were four strains of dengue present with the dengue 1 strain endemic to Fiji.

"We don't know the number of strains present in Fiji, what we do know is that usually we have dengue 1 that is normally circulating in Fiji so our guess is that may be another strain has come in.

"What will happen is that someone brings it and we have the vectors — mosquitos that can transmit it already at the airport.

"So you'll have to have someone bring it in and you'll have to have the vector there ready to feed.

"And because it is already in the blood, the intermediate transmitting agent, the mosquito, will then transfer it to another person, but it can't be transferred person to person."

Dr Kama said the ministry would know for sure if a new strain was present in the country once blood samples from the new cases were returned.

"We don't have the capacity internally to stereotype the blood samples so we have to send them away.

"One batch was sent today and one batch will be sent on Wednesday."

And while the new cases are a cause for concern, Dr Kama said they would need more information on the geographical distribution and number of cases as well as density of mosquito population before declaring an outbreak.