WHO WARNS OF PACIFIC DENGUE PANDEMIC

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More than 3,000 cases reported recently

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Nov. 3, 2008) - The World Health Organisation has warned of a Pacific pandemic- dengue fever in parts of the region, including Fiji and Samoa.

Dr. Kevin Palmer of WHO said the organization was dealing with small countries that have small health systems and small population with a larger number of cases, defining a pandemic.

According to WHO, there are more than 3,000 recently reported cases with most coming from Fiji, Samoa, New Caledonia and Kiribati.

In 2007, there were 114 reported cases of dengue in New Zealand most of them were from travelers who picked it up in the Pacific while visiting there.

"But that figure is predicted to increase this year, with a spate of kiwi tourists reporting recent cases. Symptoms include joint pain, headaches fever and a rash. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for it. As dengue can only be caught from mosquitoes, travelers are being urged to be on their guard," WHO stated.

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