27 Mar 2014

Dengue outbreak causing resource and financial strain

2:44 pm on 27 March 2014

The World Health Organisation says the current Pacific-wide outbreak of dengue is causing health systems across the region to be strained in both resources and finances.

Its team leader for emerging diseases, Eric Nilles, says dengue 3 has not been present in the Pacific for about 20 years, so a large proportion of the population is susceptible to it.

Dr Nilles says the outbreak is putting on pressure.

"Manpower, medicine and the financial resources. So the cost of additional medicine, the cost of paying overtime, the cost of fuels for vehicles, all of these things that are required during a large outbreak, and strain the available capacities and the available resources."

Dr Nillies says New Caledonia has coped with the outbreaks better than some others, like Solomon Islands, because it is highly resourced.

He says while WHO has not heard of any country running out of medicine, the surge capacity in small island states is limited so such a situation could be possible.