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Cases also recorded in Tanna

PORT VILA (Vanuatu Daily Post, Oct. 19, 2008) – A total of 18 people in Port Vila have been tested as positive for Dengue fever as determined by Laboratory tests undertaken by the Port Vila Medical Centre as of yesterday.

While some of the infected patients have undergone recent international travel to Dengue hotspots Daily Post understands that the situation may not be confined only to Vila because there some specific cases of infected individuals from the island of Tanna who have not traveled outside of Vanuatu

Mr. George Taleo who heads the committee set up by the Ministry of Health to tackle the Dengue fever threat revealed that there although the source of the current outbreak of dengue is not currently identified there are no known clusters of infections in any one area.

The first case was on September 19 when a patient from Freshwota 2 was clinically diagnosed with dengue at the Port Vila Medical Centre and samples were taken to be sent off and confirmed through serological analysis. Eight further cases have been clinically identified with the first, two others having been confirmed as being infected with Dengue and three more yesterday.

Dengue fever is caused by several related viruses and spread by the bite of mosquitoes, most commonly the species Aedes aegypti found in tropic and subtropic regions which bite only during the day time.

After being bitten by an infected mosquito it takes five to eight days for the virus to mulitiply.This brings about symptoms which include headache,chills,high fever, severe joint and muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes, red eyes and eye pain, flushed face, a general weakness and a lower back pain.

These symptoms last for two to three days before the fever drops and the patient experiences heavy sweats and feels better for at least one day only to be followed by an increase in temperature, a rash, and a headache.

The dengue virus causes the blood vessels to swell and leak, creating small purple colored spots on the skin. The skin may appear bruised in areas where the bleeding is worse. Bleeding into the stomach causes severe abdominal pains and vomiting of a black, grainy substance that looks like coffee grounds.

This severe bleeding, called hemorrhaging, occurs when the blood runs out of clotting factors. The damaged blood vessels eventually become so large that they are unable to supply the needed blood flow and the oxygen it carries to the body’s tissues. This causes the body to go into shock, and can damage major organs such as the heart and kidneys.

Dengue fever is usually self limiting and can last up to 10 days, but complete recovery can take as long as a month.

The Table above is a summary of currently known suspected dengue cases in Port Vila as of Monday 20 October 2008

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