21 Apr 2003

Five die from dengue and more than one thousand have been diagnosed with the mosquito born disease i

4:39 pm on 21 April 2003

Authorities in the New Caledonian capital, Noumea have confirmed that five people including two children have died over the past fortnight while three people remain in intensive care after contracting dengue fever

Doctors say that while more than one thousand cases have been officially reported since the dengue epidemic began in January this year, the real figure could be twice or three times that number.

The humidity and heat of the southern summer favour the disease, which can turn fatal when it becomes haemorrhagic.

Authorities have been calling for the spraying of insecticides since they declared the dengue epidemic in the French territory in mid-January.

However laxity on the part of some municipalities and the failure by some doctors to report cases are being blamed for the spread of the disease.