Dengue case a nasty surprise
Winter infection shocks experts
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