9 Oct 2008

Thousands in region suffering from Dengue

11:17 am on 9 October 2008

More than 1800 people are now suffering from dengue fever in Fiji alone, and thousands more are affected in other parts of the Pacific.

The World Health Organisation says 184 people are affected in American Samoa and a 10 year old boy has died from the disease.

Its regional representative, Dr Kevin Palmer, says dengue seems to have peaked in Samoa with about 500 cases, and there have been no new cases in recent weeks in Tonga and Kiribati, where 800 people are affected.

He says it doesn't take a lot to get rid of the virus.

"In Cook Islands, every two weeks they check all the breeding sites and if they see an increase in the mosquito numbers, they take action, they dump out the water, the larvae sites. So it doesn't cost a lot, it's vigilence, interest in between outbreaks. It takes a little bit of knowledge, but we'll be building up that knowledge bases in every one of the countries in the Pacific."

Dr Kevin Palmer says health officials have met in Manila recently to approve a regional strategy to fight dengue.