22 Jul 2015

American Samoans told to throw out stagnant water to curb dengue

8:29 am on 22 July 2015

Following the death of four people in American Samoa from the dengue fever outbreak, a disease prevention team from the United States is due to arrive for support.

The Asian tiger mosquito is one of the vectors responsible for transmitting dengue fever.

The Asian tiger mosquito is one of the vectors responsible for transmitting dengue fever. Photo: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

The team, from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, will have two epidemiologists and a physician to deal with clinical care.

An American Samoan epidemiologist, Scott Anesi says the number of severe cases has dropped, and the common factor in the severe cases was that people came to the hospital too late.

An entomologist, Dr Mark Schmaedick, says getting rid of mosquito breeding containers should be the responsibility of every family.

"Buckets, drums, tin cans, the containers that we see around, old used tyres, abandoned boats, vehicles, things that are holding water. These two species of mosquito are fairly weak flyers, they don't tend to fly very far they won't go from village to village. So there are things that all of us can do to reduce mosquito populations."

As of Saturday there were 139 cases, with 52 admitted to hospital.