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Epidemic reaches all parts of the country

PAPEÉTE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, June 2, 2009)—Health officials announced last week in Papeete that more than 1,000 dengue fever cases have been reported in French Polynesia over the last months.

Since the beginning of the epidemic last February, there has been 1,000 cases confirmed by Tahitian laboratories, including 450 cases of type-4 dengue fever.

The type-4 dengue fever has not reached French Polynesia since the early 80's. This explains why so many inhabitants are susceptible to catching this dengue strain.

"The kind of dengue we are facing does not seem to be really tough on people. They can have high fever but it does not get any worse", French Polynesia Health Department official Henri-Pierre Mallet said.

The epidemic is however hard to track. Many people do not see doctors because they do not feel seriously ill.

The dengue epidemic has now spread on all archipelagoes in French Polynesia.

Health officials said the main island, Tahiti, will probably be hit hard by the epidemic in the weeks to come.

A dengue epidemic caused the death of 10 persons in French Polynesia in 2001.

There are four strains of dengue fever - 1, 2, 3 and 4. Historically, the 1 and 3 strains are the most frequently documented dengue epidemics since 1971 in French Polynesia.

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