3 May 2024

61 dengue-like illness cases in latest report from Samoa

12:57 pm on 3 May 2024
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Photo: 123RF

Samoa's Ministry of Health has announced 61 new cases of dengue-like illness in its latest figures.

The figures are for the week of 22 to 28 April.

In its surveillance report, the ministry said the dengue-like illness count remains high; this follows the declaration of a dengue outbreak on 19 April.

Patients with dengue-like illnesses have not yet had laboratory confirmation of the dengue infection.

It is urging the public to heed advice and recommendations on preventative measures, including cleaning up stagnant water sources which are potential mosquito breeding grounds, and using mosquito nets and repellents.

Thirty-four new cases were recorded in the previous week, from 15 to 21 April, which brought the total cases reported from laboratory testing since November last year to 21 April, to 250.

Other Pacific countries have been warned to focus on preventing the mosquito-borne disease with cyclone season ending on 30 April.

In the Cook Islands, any vessels coming into any port directly from Fiji or Samoa will be fumigated by Te Marae Ora (TMO) Ministry of Health personnel to prevent the spread of the disease and protect the country from potential outbreaks.

Cook Islands News reported no suspected dengue cases in the country as of Monday, but any person returning to Rarotonga from Fiji and Samoa was asked to see a doctor urgently if they had any dengue-like illness symptoms.

A medical advisor from New Zealand's Immunisation Advisory Centre, Dr Joan Ingram, said after an infected mosquito bite, there was an incubation period of five to seven days (maximum 10).

Dengue infection may be unnoticed, a mild illness or significant illness with fever, pain behind the eyes, bone, joint and muscle pain, and sometimes rash, vomiting and diarrhoea.

"In up to 5 percent of infections - most often after a second infection - serious complications such as bleeding or shock can arise," Dr Ingram said.

"There are four different dengue viruses, and infection with one gives long-term protection from that virus, but may make the illness following one of the other three dengue viruses more serious."

Meanwhile, Inside the Games reported French authorities had spoken about dengue concerns ahead of the Paris Olympics, starting in July.

Late last month, Director-General of Health Gregory Emery said since 1 January, 1679 cases of dengue had been imported into metropolitan France, against 131 during the same period in 2023.

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