Chikungunya virus on the rise in Cook Islands
The Cook Islands ministry of health says the Chikungunya outbreak is on the rise and is likely to have not reached its peak yet.
The Cook Islands ministry of health says the Chikungunya outbreak is on the rise, and has not yet reached its peak.
The director of hospital health services Henry Tikaka says there have been about 324 recorded cases of the virus since late last year.
He told Mary Baines that most of them are on Rarotonga, but there are some cases on the outer islands.
HENRY TIKAKA: It has landed here in the Cook Islands and it's on the rise, like anywhere else when there's an outbreak of an infection.
MARY BAINES: So how many people have the virus now?
HT: At the moment, we've got about 300 plus cases, about 324. This began towards the end of last year. The thing was, you know, in spite of the fact that our neighbouring islands in the Pacific had the Chinkunguna, the dengue fever and the zika virus, we have been kept free of it up until towards the end of last year.
MB: How concerned about the Chikunguna outbreak are you?
HT: Well in terms of numbers it's increasing just like the same progress in other Pacific countries. I mean it's a concern for the public. But I think what we're trying to do at the moment I am quite happy with the process of identifying cases and then with our community health services going out and spraying the residents of those affected.
MB: So you're working with the public to ensure that the outbreak doesn't get any worse?
HT: Definitely, because at the moment we are having an inspection of the island, and that's an opportunity to remind the community their contribution, other than ours to controlling the outbreak.
MB: So what are you asking the public to do, is it cleaning up and things like that?
HT: That's right, just cleaning up and getting rid of mosquito breeding places around the house and removing any water holding areas.
MB: There must be a bit of a strain on the hospital, is there?
HT: Well, yes, it does, any increase, there's always a strain on the hospital staff. But we are managing, that's not a problem at the moment.
MB: Do you think it will get worse before it gets better, or have we reached the peak?
HT: I don't think we have reached the peak yet of the outbreak, but I may be wrong. Time will tell. From the experience of our neighbouring countries, it could get worse. But with what we are putting in place we are just hoping we can control it and stopping it from getting worse.
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