Dengue outbreak in FSM straining hospital resources
An outbreak of dengue fever in FSM is straining hospital resources.
The department of health in the Federated States of Micronesia says an outbreak of dengue fever in the state of Kosrae is straining health services.
The United States-based Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported in its most recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report the outbreak began last September when the initial a 35 year old woman was hospitalised with the mosquito-borne virus.
A spokesperson from the Kosrae Department of Health, Dr Carolee Masao, told Beverley Tse from September to the end of June, a total of 875 suspected cases of dengue has been recorded and from that figure, 132 people tested positive.
CAROLEE MASAO: Since the last updated report, which was June 29 2013, we estimated 305 people.
BEVERLEY TSE: That seems like quite a large number.
CAROLEE MASAO: For us, it's large because our population is small, our hospital is small, so this is a large number.
BEVERLEY TSE: How has dengue fever been spreading? Has there been a lot of rain since September last year or have people not been cautious about ensuring they destroy potential breeding grounds?
CAROLEE MASAO: I think people are learning. Initially, people don't know how it got spread so they were not careful. So after the outbreak started a lot of education public awareness has been going on, instructing the public on what you do, like destroying breeding sites and all those, trying not to be bitten by mosquitoes, using mosquito repellant. So I think that kind of contributed to a lesser number of people getting infected by dengue.
BEVERLEY TSE: Currently, is dengue still spreading at a fast rate or how would you describe the situation?
CAROLEE MASAO: I would say it's slowing down. But because a lot of people are not immune yet to the dengue virus, we're still kind of expecting that it's going to last for maybe a longer period, but in low kind of numbers.
BEVERLEY TSE: Is the health department conducting education and awareness about dengue and reducing its spread?
CAROLEE MASAO: Yes, we do radio programmes, we do TV programmes, we even go out to the communities and we make brochures for the public. We actually distributed brochures to every household on the island regarding things to watch out for, suspected dengue cases and how to prevent getting bitten and all this, what you do if they get infected, all those things.
BEVERLEY TSE: How serious do you think this situation is with dengue fever in the FSM?
CAROLEE MASAO: It's a matter of still doing our surveillance and getting those people. But it is quite serious, because it's draining. When we had a lot of cases it really drained away our resources.
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