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Virus test negative

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Saturday, May 24, 2014

ALL samples of the dengue-like viruses chikungunya and zika that were sent to French Polynesia this year tested negative.

This was confirmed yesterday by the Health Ministry, which stated while no cases were found in Fiji, they were being pro-active in testing because of the outbreaks experienced in neighbouring Pacific countries.

Spokesman Sunil Chandra said during this dengue outbreak, blood samples were sent to Queensland Health Forensic and Scientific Services, Institute Louis Malarde French Polynesia, and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Like dengue fever, there is no specific medicine for cure," Mr Chandra said.

"Treatment involves supporting the body's own defensive system through adequate fluid intake, rest, and paracetamol for fever and pain.

"The Ministry of Health receives advice and follows guidelines on treatment of dengue and these other mosquito-borne viruses from the World Health Organisation and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention."

He said the samples were tested in French Polynesia in April and May and all were negative for chikungunya and zika.

"While there have been no cases found in Fiji to date, we are being proactive in testing because of outbreaks in neighbouring countries.

"Chikungunya and zika are spread by the same mosquitoes as dengue, and their symptoms are similar to dengue, but they more often cause a less severe illness with fewer patients needing to be hospitalised.

"While there have been outbreaks of Zika in French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and the Cook Islands, and chikungunya in Tonga, there have been no deaths reported."