3 Nov 2008

WHO re-issues warning over dengue in the Pacific

7:22 pm on 3 November 2008

The World Health Organisation has again warned of a Pacific pandemic- dengue fever in parts of the region.

The Fiji Times quotes the WHO's Dr Kevin Palmer as saying the organisation is 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 travellers who picked it up in the Pacific while visiting there.

Dr Palmer predicts that figure will increase this year, with a spate of New Zealand tourists reporting recent cases of dengue fever for which there is no vaccine or specific treatment.

"The Pacnews agency reports that the Pacific Arts Festival in American Samoa in July is believed to have spearheaded the rapid spread of the disease."

There are now four strains of dengue in the Pacific.