24 Apr 2007

New Caledonia closely monitoring latest dengue outbreak

7:15 pm on 24 April 2007

Health authorities in New Caledonia are closely monitoring an upsurge of dengue fever cases that have been detected in the outskirts of the capital Noumea.

Since the beginning of April, four new cases have been confirmed, mainly in the Noumea suburb of Magenta where the municipality has now stepped up dusk spraying of insecticides.

The Noumea town council has also reinforced its prevention campaign to encourage residents to clean up any potential mosquito larvae breeding sites.

In 2003 a dengue fever epidemic in New Caledonia killed as many as 20 people.

The territorial health services head Jean-Paul Grangeon says he fears the confirmed cases may be just the tip of the iceberg and signal a fully-fledged epidemic.

Heavy rains throughout the region in the past several months have caused an upsurge in water-related diseases such as dengue and leptospirosis while Fiji has also been struggling with a typhoid outbreak.