26 Nov 2010

Dengue warning as wet season begins

4:24 pm on 26 November 2010

The New Zealand government is reminding travellers to the Pacific and North Queensland to protect against mosquito bites as the rainy season starts.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's spokesman, Chris Wilson, says there is no vaccine or medication to protect against dengue fever which is a virus transmitted by mosquitos.

He says travellers should use insect repellant, wear protective clothing and stay in accommodation with mosquito screens on windows.

"The rainy season's approaching and we're just advising people to be vigilant. In the past there's been dengue fever outbreaks in many parts of the Pacific such as the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, New Caledonia, Palau, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu."

Chris Wilson says if people feel unwell during a trip or within a couple of weeks of travel, they should seek immediate medical advice.

The symptoms of dengue fever are a sudden onset of high fever, severe headache and sometimes skin rash, joint pain and vomiting.

The rainy season extends from November until April.