On October 11, 2014, Tahiti reported locally transmitted chikungunya cases for the first time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Soon after, Tahitian health officials raised the alert level to 4, which corresponds to an “epidemic”, Tahiti Infos reports (computer translated).
Cases were detected Apataki, Tuamotu, and Tubuai in the Austral. On Tahiti, 11 towns of the west coast of South Island, including Papeete, have chikungunya cases. Fifty-nine cases were confirmed and three patients are currently hospitalized.
The country has taken several steps to get the outbreak under control including spraying for mosquitoes, communicating with the public and awareness.
Health director, Patrick Howell called the whole population to mobilize against the “enemy number one, the mosquito.” “The fight against mosquitoes is an act of citizenship”, he said. He advised citizens to protect themselves against mosquito bites, which includes covering exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats; using an insect repellent like DEET as directed; staying and sleeping in screened or air conditioned rooms and the use of a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.
The CDC issued a travel notice today for Tahiti and French Polynesia due to the chikungunya situation.