18 Oct 2014

Chikungunya outbreak spreads in French Polynesia

6:10 pm on 18 October 2014

The chikungunya virus is spreading in French Polynesia with almost 100 cases of the mosquito-borne illness confirmed and many more suspected.

The government has declared an epidemic and confirmed 83 cases of the virus.

It says investigations into the origin and extent of the transmission of the virus are underway.

The publisher of the Tahiti Pacificque monthly, Alex du Prel, says the territory must tackle the chikungunya outbreak while also coping with dengue fever and zika virus outbreaks.

"We have had almost every disease that has been going around except Ebola. [Chikungunya] is not a deadly disease or very rarely but you have aches and pains. What can you do? There is nothing much we can do. Our islands [are] high islands, they are kind of tropical jungle."

Alex du Prel says the Government has said it is considering postponing the popular Hawaiki Nui canoe race due to rising number of chikungunya cases.