Vanuatu braces for larger dengue outbreak
Vanuatu health authorities say dengue outbreak could get worse.
Health authorities in Vanuatu say an outbreak of dengue fever could get worse.
The Ministry of Health is spearheading a campaign to eradicate mosquito breeding sites and educate people on how to protect themselves from contracting the virus.
The leader of the campaign, Dr Laurence Boe, told Beverley Tse up to 30 people a day are reporting to have symptoms of dengue.
DR LAURENCE BOE: There's been about 25 or so confirmed cases but we've had a lot of suspected probable dengue cases. Otherwise we've had a problem with surveillance which we think is a bit under reported. So I think the real picture is larger.
BEVERLEY TSE: And how's this campaign going to stop the spread of dengue fever?
LB: We've immobilised the Ministry of Health and Vector Control and Environmental Health to do public awareness and education and basically divided them into groups which will be visiting different communities that are in Port Vila. And especially those areas where there are a number of cases and there's education and awareness advising the community on prevention and destroying the breeding sites.
BT: Is this usual for this time of year to have so many dengue cases?
LB: I'd say around this time of year it's slightly favourable, especially with the rainy season and a lot of migration of people coming in and out of the country. Recently there's been outbreaks in Fiji, New Caledonia and other Pacific islands.
BT: And how's the campaign going to erase all mosquito breeding sites?
LB: It's going all right. I'm just getting all the communities to cooperate and they're slowly starting to clean up and emphasising on cleaning up otherwise people forget the importance of doing so.
BT: Just how bad do you think this outbreak could be?
LB: In my point of view it's expected to be a large outbreak. So far we haven't had any severe dengue cases yet. We're just trying to get arrangements with the hospital with case management and we're adequately managing patients and make sure our supplies are enough. And we're stressing more on prevention, which is I think if implemented properly the outbreak could be well under control but it will take time, maybe a period of six weeks or a month.
Dr Laurence Boe says the outbreak could be worse due to the fact this strain of dengue has not been around for 20 years and may have reduced the chance of people becoming immune to it.
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