26 Aug 2019

WHO says 2019 'worse than usual' for dengue in Pacific

2:09 pm on 26 August 2019

The World Health Organisation says 2019 has been worse than usual for dengue fever in the Pacific.

The Asian tiger mosquito is one of the vectors responsible for transmitting dengue fever.


The WHO's Pacific Health Cluster Co-ordinator said the organisation is currently helping countries like the Marshall Islands, and others, such as the Cook Islands.

Sean Casey said health ministries are tackling dengue outbreaks aggressively with boosted surveillance, clean-ups, public education and treatment of the mosquito borne viral infection.

He said dengue spans a number of nations, stretching health resources.

"So, in the North Pacific around the Marshall Islands, there are outbreaks currently in Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia, and of course there's a large outbreak in the Philippines. In the South Pacific, there dengue outbreaks of a different strain in Tuvalu and the Cook Islands.

"There have been outbreaks as well in New Caledonia and French Polynesia. So, it's actually something that we've seen quite widely spread around the Pacific and around the Western Pacific Region this year.

Sean Casey said governments need help from their communities to prevent the illness from spreading.

Globally the WHO said the incidence of dengue has grown dramatically in recent decades and about half of the world's population is now at risk.

Before 1970, only nine countries had experienced severe dengue epidemics but now the disease is endemic in more than 100 countries.

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