Dengue case a nasty sur­prise

Win­ter in­fec­tion shocks ex­perts

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - RACHEL RI­LEY rachel. ri­ley@ news. com. au

AU­THOR­I­TIES are scram­bling to con­tain a shock out­break of dengue fever af­ter the first lo­cally ac­quired case in more than a year was de­tected.

Townsville Hos­pi­tal and Health Ser­vice’s ref­er­ence lab­o­ra­tory in Bris­bane con­firmed a Her­mit Park res­i­dent tested pos­i­tive for dengue yes­ter­day af­ter­noon in a sur­prise midyear out­break.

THHS pub­lic health physi­cian Dr Steven Dono­hue said the woman had not trav­elled out­side the city, in­di­cat­ing it was a lo­cal trans­mis­sion of the virus, not an im­ported case.

The last dengue di­ag­no­sis in the city was on June 29 last year af­ter an out­break in Townsville and Char­ters Tow­ers.

“The whole area of Her­mit Park has been vis­ited by the vec­tor con­trol team … and we hope it’s not go­ing to be a big out­break,” Dr Dono­hue said.

In May, au­thor­i­ties de­clared Townsville re­gion had avoided a lo­cal out­break of dengue for the first time in 15 wet sea­sons, af­ter there were no lo­cally ac­quired cases of the virus in the city, Char­ters Tow­ers, Ayr or Ing­ham.

Healthy and Safe City Com­mit­tee chair­man Coun­cil­lor Gary Ed­diehausen said Townsville City Coun­cil had worked with Queens­land Health in a door- to- door in­spec­tion of prop­er­ties but needed the help of res­i­dents to elim­i­nate breed­ing sites.

“Get­ting the con­fir­ma­tion of a win­ter case shows that dengue is a threat to pub­lic health at any time of the year,” he said.

“It’s ex­tremely im­por­tant that res­i­dents re­move any con­tain­ers around their homes that could hold wa­ter and pro­vide a breed­ing site.”

Coun­cil in­spected 34 prop­er­ties yes­ter­day, with 10 found to have po­ten­tial breed­ing sites and treated.

Dr Dono­hue rec­om­mended all res­i­dents, par­tic­u­larly those in Her­mit Park and sur­round­ing sub­urbs, take im­me­di­ate ac­tion to re­duce the risk of spread­ing the virus.

Elim­i­nate Dengue’s Kate Ret­zki said the world- first trial pro­gram in­volv­ing the re­lease of mos­qui­toes in­fected with wol­bachia would be­gin in Her­mit Park, Pim­lico and Mys­ter­ton later this month.

Mos­qui­toes in­fected with the bac­te­ria are in­ca­pable of spread­ing dengue and pass that trait on to their off­spring.

The con­fir­ma­tion of a win­ter case shows that dengue is a threat … at any time of the year CR GARY ED­DIEHAUSEN

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