10 Mar 2009

Dengue fever epidemic worsens in New Caledonia

9:51 pm on 10 March 2009

The dengue epidemic in New Caledonia is worsening with a reported 2665 people now infected since the beginning of the year.

Ten percent of the people affected have been hospitalised and local health officials say they're currently seeing around 100 new cases each day.

One person has died from the type-four dengue epidemic in the territory this year.

The French government says it's closely following developments on the epidemic, and it recently allocated over 200,000 US dollars to assist the fight against dengue.

However our correspondent, Claudine Wery, says despite France's financial support, the health services are struggling.

"It's difficult because the hospital in Noumea is in bad condition. It's too small. There's a new hospital that's going to be built in 2012, but the emergency services say that it's very difficult for them to cope with the epidemic."

Claudine Wery says health authorities are distributing insect repellent free of charge and are spraying the homes of those infected with pesticides.