‘Dengue cases tripled, 9 dead’

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - LOSIRENE LACANIVALU Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola Photo:

Dengue cases in Fiji this year tripled com­pared to the same pe­riod last year.

Act­ing Na­tional Ad­vi­sor Com­mu­ni­ca­ble Dis­ease Dr Aal­isha Sahukhan yes­ter­day con­firmed that there were 889 cases of dengue from Jan­uary 1 to Oc­to­ber 29 in 2016 while 2699 were recorded in the same pe­riod this year.

There has been of nine deaths this year.

“The in­crease in dengue cases this year was due to the out­break, the nine deaths were amongst those over the age of 55 years,” Dr Sahukhan said.

“World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion says that for dengue cases if peo­ple have ac­cess to good med­i­cal care the num­ber of deaths in an out­break should be be­low one per cent and for Fiji it was about 0.3 per cent,” she said. Ac­cord­ing to Dr Sahukhan dengue cases re­ferred from health cen­tres in the West­ern and Cen­tral di­vi­sions were ad­mit­ted at the Colo­nial War Memo­rial (CWM) and Lau­toka Hos­pi­tals.

She said the ab­so­lute peak of the out­break in May had doc­tors work­ing on 200 cases a week and in the last two months since Septem­ber they have had six cases per week.

“The num­bers have de­creased, even though the to­tal num­ber of cases is more than last year,” she said. “The out­break has come to an end but we still need to be proac­tive to pre­vent an­other out­break, dengue is en­demic in Fiji.”

Mean­while, Dr Sahukhan re­vealed that the out­break of the mos­quito borne dis­ease was in May which was out­side the nor­mal rainy sea­son.

Dengue fever is known to be re­lated to the changes in weather pat­terns and cli­mate change.

The re­ports on ‘Cli­mate Change Im­pacts Hu­man Health’ as pre­sented in Bonn in May this year showed that Cli­mate change is ex­pected to ex­ac­er­bate health prob­lems that al­ready pose a ma­jor bur­den to vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions.

The re­port shares at least five ma­jor in­sights and one of them show­ing that many in­fec­tious dis­eases, in­clud­ing wa­ter-borne ones, are highly sen­si­tive to cli­mate con­di­tions and cli­mate change length­ens the trans­mis­sion sea­son and ex­pands the ge­o­graph­i­cal range of many dis­eases like malaria and dengue. For ex­am­ple, the con­di­tions for dengue trans­mis­sion are likely to ex­pand sig­nif­i­cantly across the globe, the re­port stated.

DENGUE CAM­PAIGNS VI­TAL

With the rainy sea­son in Fiji be­ing from mid-Novem­ber to mid-April the Min­istry of Health and Med­i­cal Ser­vices is al­ready work­ing on plans to en­sure that there would not be an­other dengue out­break.

Chief Health In­spec­tor Dip Chand said the num­ber of dengue cases can in­crease as Fiji heads into the rainy sea­son.

The Min­istry of Health is work­ing on cre­at­ing aware­ness around the coun­try through the cur­rent clean-up cam­paign launch in the North­ern and West­ern Di­vi­sion. “Clean-up cam­paigns can dras­ti­cally re­duce the sever­ity of the out­breaks and cases,” Dr Chand said. Deputy Sec­re­tary Pub­lic Health Dr Eric Rafai said fund­ing and re­sources have been cir­cu­lated to the di­vi­sions with an ob­jec­tive to pre­vent any fu­ture out­breaks. “In­di­vid­u­als are en­cour­aged to re­main ac­tive in the clean-up cam­paigns so we can all en­joy a safer and bet­ter liv­ing en­vi­ron­ment,” Dr Rafai said In­di­vid­u­als are en­cour­aged to get in­volved in re­duc­ing mos­quito den­sity by clean­ing up, de­stroy­ing breed­ing sites of dengue mos­qui­tos and avoid mos­quito bites through the use of mos­quito re­pel­lents; re­main pre­pared and be aware of the signs and symp­toms of dengue fever.

Losirene Lacanivalu

From left: Deputy Sec­re­tary Pub­lic Health Dr. Eric Rafai, Chief Health In­spec­tor Dip Chand and Act­ing Na­tional Ad­vi­sor Com­mu­ni­ca­ble Dis­ease Dr. Aal­isha Sahukhan at the Min­istry for Health and Med­i­cal Ser­vices head­quar­ters on Novem­ber 13, 2017.

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