31 Jan 2018

NZ minister wants better dengue warnings at Pacific airports

10:57 am on 31 January 2018

New Zealand's Pacific Peoples Minister wants to see clearer warnings at airports in the islands region about the threat of dengue fever.

A mosquito disease warning at Rarotonga Airport.

A mosquito disease warning at Rarotonga Airport. Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Walter Zweifel

Aupito William Sio was responding to the outbreak of dengue in Tonga where a New Zealand girl contracted the disease and died.

The 12-year-old had been visiting family in the kingdom.

Aupito has called for greater regional awareness about the risk of dengue, saying public health authorities have lots of information available internally.

" I am keen though to see information available to any traveller. Made available at the airport because that is really the point where people need to be told here is potentially what could happen in the Pacific. You need to take precautions. And I think that is still missing at this point," said Aupito William Sio.

Aupito Su'a William Sio and Jacinda Ardern

Aupito Su'a William Sio and Jacinda Ardern Photo: RNZ Pacific: Sela Jane Hopgood

Aupito also said he would like all countries in the region to help each other combat dengue fever.

According to him, the idea of closer future co-operation between New Zealand, Tonga and other regional countries on this front is critical.

"Because we are a mobile community in the Pacific. So we need to be sharing a lot more information and we really need to be open to just working together for the sake of ensuring that our travelling population are protected," Aupito William Sio said.

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