DENGUE CLAIMS 14TH VICTIM IN NEW CALEDONIA

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SUVA, Fiji (Oceania Flash, June 12) - A type 1 dengue fever
epidemic in New Caledonia claimed another life this week, bringing the death
toll to 14 since January this year, Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

The latest casualty is a 73-year-old man from the main island's
eastern coast.

According to latest statistics, there are over 4,500 known cases
in the French Pacific territory.

Health authorities say the real number of cases could be two to
three times higher.

The territorial health officials continue to urged the
population to clean up potential mosquito breeding sites.

They are also reminding medical doctors throughout New Caledonia
that it is their duty to notify all cases known to them as they arise.

Since the epidemic broke out in January this year, New
Caledonia's government has stepped up preventive action, such as spraying of
insecticide, especially in the capital Nouméa.

The French army based in New Caledonia was also called to help
clean any potential breeding site, such as bushy areas in compounds or still
waters found in old recipients or tyres.

A special budget of some 20 million French Pacific Francs (CFP,
around 150,000 Euro) has also been dedicated to the struggle against the
mosquito-borne disease.

Territorial health and social services DASS say there is still
no indication to show that although the fresher season has now settled in,
mosquitoes have stopped breeding.

They even fear that if the mosquito population does not diminish
sufficiently by September-October (when the fresh season ends and temperatures
usually rise again), the epidemic could still be there and gain even more
intensity.

June 13, 2003

Oceania Flash: E-mail/Courriel: padec@iname.com 

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