17 Mar 2014

Dengue fever bites in Auckland

8:28 pm on 17 March 2014

Health officials in Auckland say they are seeing an unprecedented level of dengue fever cases in the region following outbreaks in several Pacific countries.

Fiji has reported 10,000 cases of dengue fever in an outbreak, including 11 deaths. It is also widespread in French Polynesia, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

Auckland Regional Public Health has confirmed 35 cases of dengue in Auckland already this year, 24 of them in people who have travelled to Fiji.

Medical Officer of Health Simon Baker said that was double the number of cases recorded by this time last year, but the disease was not spreading to New Zealand yet.

"The dengue viruses and other viruses are getting closer to New Zealand, certainly, but we don't actually have the vectors.

"(That) means we don't actually have the mosquitos which transmit the viruses in this country. We'd very much like to keep it that way, with good biosecurity."

Travellers could protect themselves from dengue by avoiding mosquito bites, Dr Baker said.