3 Mar 2011

New Caledonia hopes chikungunya now contained

4:10 pm on 3 March 2011

Health authorities in New Caledonia sat they hope to have contained the territory's first case of the mosquito-borne disease, chikungunya, but urge people to still take precautions.

The disease claimed 250 lives in the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion in 2006 when an epidemic hit about a third of the island's population.

The Chief of Health services in Noumea says chikungunya symptoms are similar to those of dengue, with high fever accompanied by pains in the joints and the muscles, headaches and often skin rash.

Dr Jean-Paul Grangeon says the public still needs to be careful as the disease is spread via infected blood that can be transferred by mosquito bites.

"We have always to take care not to be bitten by mosquitoes because mosquitoes can always be a danger for disease, so we have to protect ourselves with a repellent, cream, and we have to make sure there is no water staying that could be a place where larvaes can grow and clean all around the houses. That's the most important thing."

Dr Jean-Paul Grangeon