The South Pacific Ocean nation island chain of Vanuatu has had an increase in dengue cases since November that exceeds the trends in recent years.


The island country has reported 919 suspected and 142 confirmed dengue fever cases as of Jan. 23, according to the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) Friday. Four cases are classified as severe.

The current dengue epidemic of sterotype 2 affects all age groups and therefore is a national threat that warrants national responsibility, public, private and communal response.

Twenty-four per cent of the cases are found among children between five and 14, 24.2 per cent are found among those between the ages of 15 and 24, and 19.4 per cent are among those between 25 and 34, and 18.8 per cent of patients above the age of 34.

There are more cases being reported and confirmed on Efate, Urban Port vila and nearby rural areas and cases are also coming in from Sola in Torba province, Luganville in Sanma, Emae in Shefa, Norsup in Malampa province and Lenakel in Tanna, Tafea province.

At the end of 2016, the Ministry of Health established a stratified Orange Alert due to the growing number of cases of dengue fever in the country. Orange Alert for Port-Vila 4 municipal Ward, Yellow Alert for Efate rural areas, Lenakel-Tanna, Luganville-Santo, and Sola- Banks, and Green alert in the remaining areas of country where dengue cases were not reported.

With the rainy season in full effect from November to April, it is feared that this dengue outbreak could expand considerably without appropriate and timely intervention.