27 Nov 2013

Two cases of viral illness zika fever in New Caledonia

6:45 pm on 27 November 2013

Two cases of zika fever have been reported in New Caledonia following a confirmed outbreak in French Polynesia.

Zika fever is a viral illness; similar to dengue fever, yellow fever and Japanese encephalitis; and is spread though mosquito bites.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention says the French Polynesian Department of Health has confirmed an outbreak of several hundred cases of zika fever in Tahiti and other islands of the group, including Bora Bora.

Travellers are being advised to use insect repellants, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and sleep in screened rooms or under bed nets.

Symptoms of zika fever include high temperature, headache, red eyes, skin rash, muscle aches and joint pains lasting up to a week.

Mosquitos carrying the virus can bite day and night, both inside and out, and live around buildings in urban areas.

Zika fever originated in Uganda 65 years ago and largely remained in Africa and Asia until an outbreak on the island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia in April 2007 affecting more than 100 people.