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Dengue outbreak concerning, says WHO

Ana Madigibuli
Wednesday, April 09, 2014

THE current outbreak of dengue in Fiji is a matter of serious concern to all, says World Health Organization director Pacific technical support and representative Dr Yunguo Liu.

In his address at the World Health Day celebration in Naulu, Nasinu yesterday, Dr Liu highlighted alarming dengue statistics recorded so far — about 20,000 cases with 12 lives lost.

"There is no vaccine for dengue and there is no cure. Community clean-up campaigns to get rid of mosquito breeding places in and around every household are the mainstay in dengue vector control strategies," he said.

"Dengue is now the world's fastest spreading vector-borne disease, endemic in over 100 countries worldwide."

He said Pacific Island countries, including Fiji, had experienced enormous suffering from vector-borne diseases, particularly dengue and lymphatic filariasis, which were both transmitted by mosquitoes.

"Your self protection is the key to preventing you from getting diseases from mosquitoes."

Minister for Health Dr Neil Sharma said the ministry acknowledged that vector-borne diseases could impose significant morbidity, mortality and financial burden among Fiji's population.

"With dengue fever annually, Fiji records an estimate 15 to 20 laboratory confirmed cases of dengue fever amongst its 870,000 population," Dr Sharma said.

He added the ministry acknowledged the havoc and threat to health security disease-carrying mosquitoes could inflict.

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