Public Health Director confirms imported dengue case


An imported dengue case has been reported at the Vila Central Hospital.

The person with the infection is a visitor who was believed to be infected in another country before coming to Vanuatu, said the Director of Public Health, Len Tarivonda.

This imported dengue case has prompted the Public Health Department (PHD) to issue the following advice.

“The best way to prevent dengue is to avoid mosquito bites by wearing appropriate clothing to minimize the amount of exposed skin,” the PHD said in a statement.

“Use insect repellent, physical barriers such as screens, closed doors and windows and sleep under mosquito nets.

“Anyone suspected to have symptoms of dengue infection should visit the nearest healthcare facility immediately for accurate testing.”

Although there are no suspected or confirmed dengue cases from other islands, people are advise to travel safe since dengue outbreaks are also being reported in New Caledonia, Wallis & Futuna, Naura and Palau.

The Ministry of Health (MOH), through the national and provincial disease surveillance system, is monitoring the dengue situation in Vanuatu.

Director Tarivonda encourages schools, churches and communities to mobilize and clean up their homes and public areas because its the wet season and there are a lot of mosquitoes.

Members of the public are reminded not to give mosquitoes places to breed by removing water containers, coconut shells, old tyres, drums, buckets, water tanks, pot plant trays and rubbish around their houses to reduce dengue transmission.

Dengue is a viral infection transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, the same type of mosquito that spreads xika virus, chikungunya and yellow fever.

It is common in tropical countries.

People who are infected with the dengue virus can transmit the infection for 4-5 days, with a maximum of 12 days after symptoms first appear.

Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, muscle or joint pain, severe headache, pain behind eyes and rash. Severe dengue cases should be admitted to the hospital without delay, as it may cause death.

Since there is no specific treatment for dengue, the PHD said anyone that has dengue should rest and drink plenty of fluids.

“You can take medicines such as paracetamol (panadol) to treat pain and fever but do not take aspirin or other non-steroidal antil-inflammatories such as ibuprofen as they increase the risk of bleeding”.