21 Jan 2009

French Polynesia takes measures over vulnerability to type 4 dengue

8:26 pm on 21 January 2009

French Polynesia's health authorities have stepped measures to prevent more cases of dengue fever being imported from the Pacific region.

This comes in the wake of the announcement of the first two cases of type 4 dengue fever in French Polynesia.

Oceania Flash reports the new measures include increased surveillance of possible new cases and a close monitoring of incoming passengers on international flights, by way of thermal cameras to detect unusual body temperature levels.

The Health minister and Vice-President Jules Ienfa says the two new cases of people who had recently returned from holidays in New Caledonia, highlight the risk of type 4 posed by neighbouring countries which have been affected by dengue since last year.

Although French Polynesians are relatively used to and have become more resistant to the Type 1 dengue, the serotype 4 has not been common for over thirty years.

Mr Ienfa says at least 150,000 inhabitants of French Polynesia have never been in contact with the virus and would be particularly vulnerable to it.

He warns the territory's expecting a complicated situation and fatalities are a likelihood.