24 Mar 2014

Dengue fever numbers expected to rise in Fiji

7:35 am on 24 March 2014

The Fiji government says it expects a surge in the number of people affected by dengue fever over the coming weeks because of new testing systems it has adopted.

At a media briefing, the Ministry of Health said there were 4,087 cases recorded in the past week, the majority being in the eastern division.

It said 15,446 people have become ill during the outbreak, and 12 people have died - the youngest a two-month-old.

It said the clean-up campaign is becoming increasingly important as dengue fever has now spread into all divisions of Fiji.

Our correspondent, Ricardo Morris, says doctors are no longer taking laboratory blood tests to test for dengue.

"Because of the burden on the health system, they will now only carry our laboratory tests for those who are actually admitted to health facilities. But for everyone else, expected dengue cases would be counted as dengue once the doctor has checked people presenting themselves at health facilities."

Ricardo Morris says the Australian government has donated one-point-two million dollars to help the Fiji government deal with the outbreak.