Health officials on the South Pacific islands of New Caledonia have reported two imported chikungunya cases from Indonesia, according to a Radio New Zealand report Thursday.

Aedes aegypti mosquito feeding on a human host/CDC
Aedes aegypti mosquito feeding on a human host/CDC

In addition, they have diagnosed two new cases of dengue, prompting appeals for the public to eliminate breeding sites for mosquitoes, the report notes.

Since 2011, when the first outbreak of chikungunya was detected in the Pacific region (in New Caledonia), 14 chikungunya virus outbreaks and circulations have been reported by 11 of the 22 Pacific Island countries and territories.

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes such as Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. It can cause high fever, join and muscle pain, and headache. Chikungunya does not often result in death, but the joint pain may last for months or years and may become a cause of chronic pain and disability. There is no specific treatment for chikungunya infection, nor any vaccine to prevent it. Pending the development of a new vaccine, the only effective means of prevention is to protect individuals against mosquito bites.