In a follow-up report on the dengue outbreak in Northern Fiji, health authorities are now reporting 48 lab-confirmed cases of dengue for the Northern Division this month.

Aedes mosquito
Aedes aegypti image/CDC

This is up from 17 cases reported in Macuata earlier this week.

According to the Fiji Times, health officials said in response to the outbreak, “Already the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Australian Government have declared their interest to support the ministry’s endeavors to control the dengue outbreak in the North.”

The ministry also said it was in the process of sending appropriate samples to dengue reference labs abroad by the end of the week and the dengue strain implicated would be identified.

“The ministry’s intersectoral response to controlling the dengue fever in the dengue outbreak in the North will be intense, irrespective of the strain.”

According to the World Health Organization, dengue is transmitted by the bite of a mosquito infected with one of the four dengue virus serotypes. It is a febrile illness that affects infants, young children and adults with symptoms appearing 3-14 days after the infective bite.

Dengue is not transmitted directly from person-to-person and symptoms range from mild fever, to incapacitating high fever, with severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, and rash. There is no vaccine or any specific medicine to treat dengue. People who have dengue fever should rest, drink plenty of fluids and reduce the fever using paracetamol or see a doctor.

Severe dengue (also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever) is characterized by fever, abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding and breathing difficulty and is a potentially lethal complication, affecting mainly children. Early clinical diagnosis and careful clinical management by trained physicians and nurses increase survival of patients.