While the peak of the dengue fever outbreak in Fiji is long past, the number of cases recorded this year are triple what they were in 2016 during the same period.
According to a Fiji Village report, Acting National Advisor for Communicable Diseases, Doctor Aalisha Sahu-Khan said 2,699 dengue cases have been reported year-to-date, while 889 were reported for the same period last year.
In addition, nine dengue-related fatalities have been reported so far.
Dr. Sahu-Khan also pointed to climate change has a major factor contributing to the dengue outbreak but provided no details on this conclusion.
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services Deputy Secretary of Public Health, Dr. Eric Rafai says as expected with the beginning of the rainy season, there is a risk of an increase in the number of dengue cases and other mosquito-borne diseases and says National Clean-up campaigns will launch very soon.
Dengue is a viral infection transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. There are four closely related but antigenically different serotypes of the virus that can cause dengue (DEN1, DEN 2, DEN 3, DEN 4).
- Dengue Fever (DF) – marked by an onset of sudden high fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, and pain in muscles and joints. Some may also have a rash and varying degree of bleeding from various parts of the body (including nose, mouth and gums or skin bruising).Dengue has a wide spectrum of infection outcome (asymptomatic to symptomatic). Symptomatic illness can vary from dengue fever (DF) to the more serious dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF).
- Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) – is a more severe form, seen only in a small proportion of those infected. DHF is a stereotypic illness characterized by 3 phases; febrile phase with high continuous fever usually lasting for less than 7 days; critical phase (plasma leaking) lasting 1-2 days usually apparent when fever comes down, leading to shock if not detected and treated early; convalescence phase lasting 2-5 days with improvement of appetite, bradycardia (slow heart rate), convalescent rash (white patches in red background), often accompanied by generalized itching (more intense in palms and soles), and diuresis (increase urine output).
- Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS) — Shock syndrome is a dangerous complication of dengue infection and is associated with high mortality. Severe dengue occurs as a result of secondary infection with a different virus serotype. Increased vascular permeability, together with myocardial dysfunction and dehydration, contribute to the development of shock, with resultant multiorgan failure.
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