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Mosquitoes pose two new threats

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Saturday, May 17, 2014

THE Ministry of Health has advised the public of the possible existence of two new mosquito-borne viral diseases — chikungunya and zika.

It has also confirmed there is no vaccine for these two diseases, which is transmitted by infected mosquitoes.

The ministry's national adviser for communicable diseases, Dr Mike Kama, said they feared the chikungunya and zika viruses, which have been identified in other Pacific island countries, may follow the same path as dengue.

Dengue fever killed 15 people and infected 25,300 people in the past seven months, according to statistics released by the ministry.

Dr Kama said there had been no cases of chikungunya or zika virus identified in the country so far but warned that despite the decline in the number of dengue fever cases, citizens must remain vigilant. Regular blood samples have been sent abroad for test for these emerging mosquito-borne viruses.

"We were free from dengue for a year before it started knocking on our doors in December, so there's always that possibility that other viruses will reach our shores, this is why vigilance is important."

The two viruses have recorded confirmed outbreaks in French Polynesia, New Caledonia and the Cook Islands. He said French Polynesia topped the list with 8700 suspected cases of the zika virus.

Tonga has also reported a chikungunya outbreak.

THE TWO NEW VIRUS

Source: Centers For Disease Control And Prevention And Nsw Government Health

Chikungunya

* People infected with chikungunya virus will develop some symptoms three to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito;

* The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash;

* There is no medicine to treat chikungunya virus infection or disease.

Zika fever

* Zika fever is an illness caused by the Zika virus that spreads through the bite of infected mosquitoes;

* Symptoms include fever, headache, red eyes, rash, muscle aches, and joint pains

* The illness is usually mild and lasts 4-7 days





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