17 Jul 2015

Dengue cases at epidemic level - American Samoa health officials

9:22 am on 17 July 2015

In American Samoa, the number of suspected dengue cases has reached 122 in the six weeks since dengue was first recorded in the latest outbreak.

man in lab coat and microscope

Photo: AFP

The LBJ hospital has confirmed the death toll from dengue fever is now three.

The epidemiologist for the Department of Health, Scott Anesi, says the numbers have not reached the threshold for World Health Organisation and Centers for Disease Control standards to be declared an epidemic.

However he says the number of deaths, patient admission numbers as well as the number of severe cases, are enough to declare the outbreak an epidemic.

"One out of every 3 people that goes into seek treatment gets admitted because they are in dire need of treatment, and of those that get admitted, we have a critical rate of 18 percent, so one in every five people that gets admitted develops the dengue hemmoraghic, so those numbers are very high and those are the parts of the population we are targetting."

Scott Anesi has been speaking before the Senate Hospital and Health Committee.

Meanwhile, the US Centers for Disease Control is sending a team to American Samoa to help with the dengue fever outbreak in the territory.

The Director for Health Tuileama Nua on Wednesday submitted a request for assistance to CDC and he's announced that a team is expected to arrive early next week.

Our correspondent says the most affected district is Tuala-tai, the most affected age group is 8-17, and those affected range from 9 months to 77 years.