DENGUE MOSQUITOES BELIEVED ON RAROTONGA

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By Jonathon Harwood

AVARUA, Rarotonga, Cook Islands (December 11, 2001 – Cook Islands News)---Mosquitoes carrying dengue fever may be at large on Rarotonga.

Another case of the disease has been recorded on the island, and the latest is thought to have been contracted locally.

Two visitors were hospitalized last month and it has since emerged that another victim was treated at Rarotonga hospital for the mosquito-borne illness.

It is believed that the latest sufferer was a local person who may have contracted the disease here.

The victim is believed to be a resident papa’a (non Cook Islander) and was discharged about two weeks ago.

"He had not been abroad," said the source, adding that no more information could be revealed to the press.

Officials at the Public Health Department refused to speak to CINews yesterday, saying they had been ordered not to talk with the paper by Secretary of Health Tupu Araiti.

Asked how they could fulfill their role of educating the public on health matters without dealing with the media, the spokesman apologized and said that he could only speak to this paper with the permission of Araiti.

Reporters were unable to get hold of Araiti yesterday. Staff at the hospital said he was in a meeting with senior doctors there.

Last month he failed to return a series of calls from the CINews following the hospitalization of two tourists with dengue fever.

On that occasion Public Health only acted to fumigate the premises where one of the victims was staying days after he was admitted to hospital.

The ministerial portfolio for health returned to the Prime Minister last week, following the sacking of Peri Vaevae Pare.

The Prime Minister’s Deputy Chief of Staff was also unavailable yesterday.

However, former health minister Pare said that he believed the "recent cases" had been imported.

For additional reports from the Cook Islands News Online, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Cook Islands News Online.

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