American Samoa's dengue fever outbreak "epidemic"
An epidemiologist for American Samoa's Department of Health Scott Anesi has described the recent dengue fever outbreak in the territory as an epidemic.
Health authorities in American Samoa have described the recent dengue fever outbreak in the territory as an epidemic.
Three people have died from the mosquito borne disease in the latest outbreak.
Moera Tuilaepa Taylor has more.
The number of suspected dengue cases has reached 122 in the past six weeks.
An epidemiologist with the Health Department Scott Anesi says numbers have not reached the official threshold set by the World Health Organisation for the declaration of an epidemic. However he says the number of deaths, patient admission numbers as well as the number of severe cases, are enough for a declaration to now be considered.
SCOTT ANESI: One out of every 3 people that goes into seek treatment gets admitted because they are in dire need of treatment.
He told the Senate Hospital and Health Committee 18 percent of those admitted are in a critical condition.
SCOTT ANESI: So one in every five people that gets admitted develops the dengue hemorrhagic, so those numbers are very high and those are the parts of the population we are targeting.
The most affected district is Tuala-tai in the south west of the main island of Tutuila.Those most affected are between the ages of eight and 17,but the youngest is 9 months and the oldest 77. Our correspondent in Pago Pago Monica Miller says everyone there is talking about dengue.
MONICA MILLER: That's the talk of people where ever go about the number of people who have died and people who are in hospital. Many of my friend say that members of their families, especially children. It's quite a severe situation and people are worried.
She says the Health Department is under extreme pressure not only in dealing with the dengue outbreak but also a sudden doctor shortage. The US Centre for Disease Control is sending a team to American Samoa following a request from the Director of Health Tuileama Nua.
TUILEAMA NUA: And the team consists of two epidemiologists, and a physician that will deal with clinical care management.
He says the team will advise, rather than directly treat people but they will assist in other areas.
TUILEAMA NUA: They are going to help us with the bags, in terms of our bloods, our IV supplies and all the testing capability that we need.
The Centre for Disease Control team is expected to arrive early next week.
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