12 Feb 2008

French Polynesia starts Dengue awareness campaign amid epidemic

8:41 pm on 12 February 2008

French Polynesia has this week started an awareness campaign about dengue fever after thirteen people were diagnosed with the illness this year.

The potentially fatal dengue virus is transmitted through mosquito bites and its symptoms are fever and rashes.

Last year a child died in the territory and thousands were affected in the region.

The advisor to the minister of health, says all patients are in a stable condition.

Dr Jean-Paul Theron, says it's taking extra measures to ensure the illness doesn't spread further.

"The dengue epidemic has begun in French Polynesia. The campaign has begun [on how to] prevent the illness and explain it to the population. I've signed the first news information for the beginning of the campaign to tell all the people to clean their gardens and clean all around the house and be very careful about the mosquitoes."

Dr Jean-Paul Theron says people should also use insect repellent.

New Caledonia has also confirmed 30 new cases this year.