Feverish work to curb dengue in Cook Islands

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RAROTONGA (Cook Islands News/Pacnews) — The numbers of dengue cases have topped 300, but may now be beginning to drop off after intensive community clean-up and spraying efforts.

It was in March that dengue cases began to increase and in March alone there were 101 cases reported- both probable and confirmed cases.

According to the World Health Organization, as of May 12, 2020, there had been 307 dengue cases.

From January to May 12, 2020, 181 probable dengue cases and 20 (12 DENV-1 and 8 DENV-2) laboratory confirmed cases were reported.

There was no confirmed dengue case for April and May 2020 and no deaths were reported.

Th health ministry, or Te Marae Ora, says that as of May 5, there were only seven probable cases, with no hospital admission.

When she left the country last month, Secretary of Health Dr. Josephine Herman set her staff the challenge of eliminating dengue within just two weeks.

Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Tereapii Uka said the community had made it possible to reduce infection numbers.

The World Health Organization said there had been 307 dengue cases since the outbreak began last year. No deaths have been reported.

Dr. Uka said numbers were decreasing. “The island looks so clean and we need to encourage ourselves to continue to keep our island clean to avoid mosquito resting and breeding sites.”

The ministry was doing more block spraying in the villages, he said.

Those traveling by boat to the Pa Enua require medical clearance, and there would be a nurse stationed at the harbor and at the airport to do temperature checks on embarking passengers.

“We want to keep the Pa Enua [the outer islands] dengue free,” Dr. Uka said.

Aitutaki is the only outer island that has reported dengue cases.