26 Feb 2014

44 cases of potential dengue fever in Cook Islands

3:13 pm on 26 February 2014

Cook Islands health officials are waiting for results of 44 cases of people presenting dengue like symptoms, in the country's first outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease in five years.

The Health Protection manager, Tata Vaeau, says there are already eight confirmed cases and they've sent blood samples to French Polynesia to verify what type of dengue strain appears.

Mr Vaeau says it was an introduced outbreak, brought back to Rarotonga by people who visited French Polynesia.

He says people should go to the doctor immediately if they feel sick and health officials are erring on the side of caution.

"For the time-being we are considering all these 44 cases as positive cases because we are front-line, we are the response team. I consider all of these confirmed cases until the blood results are confirmed or announced."

Tata Vaeau says they hope the first batch of results from French Polynesia will arrive by the end of this week.