brad brace

2/17/2009

Health workers alarmed at pace of dengue in New Caledonia

Health authorities in New Caledonia say dengue fever is spreading at an
alarming rate, with over over 1,000 cases reported in the French Pacific
territory since the New Year.

In the first six weeks of this year, 1,027 dengue cases have been reported,
a figure close to the total number of cases recorded last year.

Health officials say they are particularly concerned that 546 of the 2009
caseload were reported in the past two weeks.

New Caledonia’s director of sanitary and social affairs, Jean Paul
Grangeon, says the situation is worrying.

“There is a serious outbreak of dengue in New Caledonia. We’ve got nearly
60 new cases a day now,” he said.

Most of the infections involve Type 4 dengue fever, which was last recorded
in New Caledonia 30 years ago, and against which most people have no
immunity.

The outbreak has also spread to neighbouring Pacific countries including
Fiji, Samoa, Palau, Kiribati, Vanuatu, American Samoa and the Cook Islands.

Health authorities say that as the weather gets cooler and milder, the
breeding rate of mosquitoes should slow, making it easier to bring the
epidemic under control.

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