Expect rise in dengue fever cases, says WHO
From FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
News Mon 24 Feb 2014
SUVA, Fiji — The World Health Organization (WHO) says the number of dengue fever cases would increase in the coming months.
An Information Ministry statement on Friday night said the Health Ministry had recorded 3330 confirmed dengue cases.
At a general practitioners’ seminar in Suva , the national adviser for communicable diseases, Dr Mike Kama, said there were 6659 suspected dengue fever cases recorded as of February 16.
Dr Kama said of these suspected cases, 2589 were tested positive while two confirmed and two suspected dengue deaths were recorded by the health authorities.
Jane Wallace, WHO’s senior health adviser at the South Pacific office in Suva, said Fiji was experiencing strain three dengue fever, which is also being reported in many other Pacific Island countries.
“The number of cases is expected to continue to increase in the coming months in many places, including Fiji, French Polynesia and Kiribati,” Wallace said.
“As children are born who have not been infected with a specific dengue virus serotype, they create a susceptible cohort.
“Therefore, it is not uncommon for dengue serotypes to re-emerge in the Pacific after being absent for 15 to 20 years, likely because the proportion of the population that is susceptible has increased above a certain threshold.”
Wallace said the anticipated increase was also because of the patterns seen in past dengue outbreaks in the Pacific, numbers of new cases being seen and seasonality.
“In Fiji for example, it is the wetter season and the number of mosquitoes that transmit dengue is higher than in the dry season.”
“The last time Fiji had a dengue fever outbreak was in 1997 to 1998 — this was of Type 2.
“Before that, a dengue Type 1 epidemic occurred in Fiji between July 1989 and July 1990.”
Meanwhile, the dengue epidemic is expected to ease between June and July when the country enters the cold season.
Dr Kama told a general practitioners seminar in Suva that the Central Division tops the list with 2112 cases with the highest attack rate in Samabula, Suva, where 309 cases have been tested positive.
The Western Division recorded 355 confirmed cases while the Northern Division recorded 121 cases.
The Eastern Division had the lowest number of cases of only four and these were recorded on Kadavu.
“This data is from all government health facilities and are all tested laboratory cases,” Dr Kama told the seminar.
“Last week alone, 1200 cases were recorded.”
The Suva sub-division tops cases in the Central Division with 1663 confirmed cases with Rewa having 352 and Tailevu having 52 cases.
The Lautoka/ Yasawa sub-division recorded 208 confirmed cases while Nadi recorded 109 and Nadroga/ Navosa 28 cases. Ra Province recorded three cases only.
Macuata/Labasa has recorded 95 positive cases while Cakaudrove had 21 and Taveuni recorded five cases only.
Dr Kama released the statistics to the general practitioners at yesterday’s seminar.
Dr Isoa Bakani, a private practitioner, said the number of cases was quite frightening.
“These figures are just public hospital figures and there are none from the private practices,” he said.
“We need to be realistic and provide figures from private practitioners as well to the public.
“It’s never been like this before and the problem is there are no preventative measures — the hospitals are just here to collect figures.
“They should focus a lot on what they can do to protect people.”