The first dengue fever outbreak of 2015 in Far North Australia has been reported by Queensland Health officials as two cases of dengue had been confirmed in Cairns, while a third suspected case is being investigated.
Director of Tropical Public Health Services (Cairns) Dr Richard Gair said, “Our Dengue Action Response Team (DART) has targeted the outbreak zone in the Edmonton area.
“We are urging people across the region to be extra vigilant, as dengue mosquitoes are urban mosquitoes that feed during the day and breed around homes, rather than in swamps or creeks.
“While we have had a dry start to the wet season, these confirmed cases show we can’t be complacent and only a small amount of water can make areas perfect breeding grounds for mosquitos.”
Dr Gair said common dengue mosquito breeding sites include buckets, toys, pot plant bases and blocked roof gutters.
“Make sure that any mosquito breeding sites are removed from homes and workplaces as it is much easier to prevent breeding sites from developing than it is to eradicate them once they are established,” he said.
“Take the time to check yards and tip out, flush out, throw away or store dry any containers holding water in which mosquitoes can breed.
“It is also important use indoor surface spray, mozzie zappers and coils around the house to kill and repel mosquitoes.
“Protect yourself and your family further by using repellent and wearing light coloured clothing.”
Dengue fever causes fever with severe headaches, muscle and joint pains, and other symptoms may include a rash, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Anyone with dengue like symptoms should go to a doctor immediately and get tested for dengue.
During the last dengue season, 136 people were diagnosed with the mosquito-borne disease in the Cairns area, with more than half of the cases being in the Cairns City and Cairns North areas.
Dengue fever is a disease caused by any one of four closely related dengue viruses (DENV 1, DENV 2, DENV 3, or DENV 4). The viruses aretransmitted to humans by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito.
The principal symptoms of dengue fever are high fever, severe headache, severe pain behind the eyes,joint pain, muscle and bone pain, rash, and mildbleeding (e.g., nose or gums bleed, easy bruising). Generally, younger children and those with their first dengue infection have a milder illness than older children and adults.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there may be 50–100 million dengue infections worldwide every year. However, new research from the University of Oxford and the Wellcome Trust, using cartographic approaches, estimate there to be 390 million dengue infections per year worldwide.
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