Health officials in the South Pacific archipelago of Fiji have reported more than 2200 dengue fever cases during the first half of 2017, according to local media.

Aedes aegypti Image/CDC
Aedes aegypti

“During the last six months of this year there were 2,217 laboratory confirmed cases of dengue fever in Fiji and tragically six deaths that were attributed to this deadly disease. Fiji experiences mosquito borne diseases every year, there are persistent problem for our population or health sector”, according to Minister Rosy Akbar.

In addition, The Australian Government announced it will invest $7.7 million in innovative pilot programs targeting mosquito-borne diseases in Fiji, Vanuatu and Kiribati where over 30,000 people have been infected in the last decade.

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Australia’s innovationXchange has partnered with Monash University’s Eliminate Dengue Program and national health ministries to target dengue, Zika virus, and chikungunya. The program uses naturally occurring Wolbachia bacteria to stop mosquitoes from transmitting these diseases to human populations.

These pilots build on Australia’s existing efforts to promote health security in the Pacific by building countries’ capacities to detect, assess and respond to diseases with epidemic potential. Given Australia’s close proximity to our Pacific neighbors, supporting regional health security also works to ensure our own national health security.