Dengue, chikungunya and Zika virus outbreaks are also occurring across the Pacific. These three viruses are transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, which are present in many tropical countries, Asia, and the Pacific.

Aedes mosquito
Aedes aegypti image/CDC

Dengue fever emerged as a worldwide problem in the 1950s, and is becoming more and more widespread. With more than one-third of the world’s population now living in areas at risk of infection, dengue virus is a leading cause of illness in the tropics and subtropics. Up to 400 million people are infected worldwide every year. Zika and chikungunya spread to Asia and the Pacific in 2013.

Currently, there are two ongoing DENV-1 outbreaks in Cairns (31 confirmed cases since 11 December 2014) and Tully/El Arish (38 cases since 14 January 2015), according to Queensland Health.

Another mosquito borne viral disease, Ross River virus (RRV) , has struck down more than 4645 people in Queensland, Australia since Jan. 1. It is the biggest RRV outbreak in two decades.

The outbreak of dengue in the Cook Islands continues to increase with about 324 cases since late last year. In addition, they have seen a total of 726 chikungunya cases since October 2014.

In the Solomon Islands, more than 300 Zika virus infections have been reported since February. This outbreak is decreasing but still ongoing.

The Marshall Islands has seen nearly 1000 chikungunya cases since April. The bulk of the cases were from the Capital, Majuro. The other cases were from outer islands (Ebeye, Aur and Maloelap).

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their travel notice for the Pacific Islands due to chikungunya today.