29 Nov 2010

Caution urged over dengue as wet season starts

1:41 pm on 29 November 2010

A public health doctor in Townsville in Australia says people living and travelling in the tropics need to be vigilant about mosquito protection to prevent potential dengue fever outbreaks as the rainy season gets underway.

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

Dr Steven Donohue, says the 2008 - 2009 season was particularly bad in Cairns with more than a thousand cases and one death.

He says at present the illness is being managed but the season is only just beginning but it could turn out to be a nasty season for dengue in the Australian State.

"It's begun as a more normal season this year, as I say we've only had a couple of dozen cases. But they're expecting a longer and wetter season. And with the very large numbers of cases internationally and the increasing amount of tourism, it could still turn out to be quite a nasty dengue season in North Queensland."

However Dr Donohue says travellers are still much more likely to catch dengue fever in the Pacific Islands, South East Asia and Central America than in Queensland.

He says people living in countries where dengue carrying mosquitos could be present, need to be very careful about getting rid of anything lying around homes that can hold water where the insects breed.