Vanuatu Sees 359 Suspeced Cases Of Dengue Fever; 66 Confirmed

Most cases are from in and around Port Vila, Efate

Compiled by Glenda Willie

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Jan. 5, 2017) – The number of dengue virus cases has hiked to 359 as of the end of December 2016, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has reported.

From this figure, 66 are confirmed cases while the rest are suspected to have the virus.

A statement from the MoH informed that results of blood samples that were sent to New Zealand for further tests were received on December 9, 2016, and it revealed that two cases are confirmed to be tested positive with Dengue Serotype 2.

There are 4 distinct, but closely related, serotypes of the virus that cause dengue (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4).

Six dengue patients have been hospitalized while others were sent home and advised to be treated at home.

According to the health authorities, most cases have been detected in areas in Port Vila and a few from communities around Efate. Several cases were recorded in Luganville,however the patients have been diagnosed with dengue symptoms while in Vila.

The MoH continues to appeal strongly and emphasizes on the importance of early detection and management of this dangerous disease as it can cause death.

Health authorities have also reminded the general public of the symptoms of the disease. Symptoms of dengue usually start with fever within five to six days after someone is bitten by an infected mosquito.

Anyone suspected to have the virus must visit a nearest health facility immediately for accurate testing and follow-up. The public is advised to consider this key message seriously, to save lives.

A person suspected with dengue virus will have fever for more than two days and experiences two of the following symptoms; nausea and vomiting, muscle and joint pain, severe headache, pain behind eyes and rash.

There is no vaccine or any specific medicine to treat dengue.

However, nurses and doctors may use a rapid dengue test to assist with diagnosis. Anyone with fever is advised to rest, drink plenty of fluids and take painkillers such as paracetamol. Health authorities are advising against taking any medicines that contains aspirin, but see a doctor or nurse if the fever worsens.

Following the rapid increase of dengue cases, the Dengue Task-force continues to meet weekly to appropriately address this issue. The team has adjusted its strategy at tackling this issue.

Given the ongoing rainfall, the task force has decided to stop the sector borne disease control team to spray insecticides in areas but advise the general public to eliminate mosquito breeding places by ensuring yards are cleaned at all times, bury all empty bottles, containers, coconuts shells or dispose them properly. Cover all water containers with lids and keep small fish in water tanks and water drums.

People are also encouraged to prevent mosquito bites and reduce transmission of dengue by using mosquito coils during the day and sleeping under mosquito nets.

Vanuatu Daily Post
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