DENGUE FEVER SURGE IN LABASA
There has been a notable increase in the number of dengue fever cases in the Macuata Subdivision, mainly localized to the Labasa town area in the last four weeks. The weekly numbers of confirmed dengue cases have surpassed the expected numbers for this time of the year. With the current trend of cases seen, it is evident that Macuata, and specifically Labasa, is experiencing a surge of dengue fever.
According to the Acting National Advisor Communicable Disease, Dr. Aalisha Sahukhan, as of January 1st 2017 to December 17th 2017 a total of 795 laboratory confirmed cases of dengue fever have been recorded in the Northern Division. This is compared to 1,207 and 1,134 confirmed cases in the Central and Western Divisions respectively.
From the week of November 20th to December 17th, there have been 279 confirmed cases reported from Macuata, mostly from the Labasa town area. The number of confirmed cases per week has ranged from 39-78, with a sustained increase every week. More recent data received from the period December 17th to date is expected to show a continued increase in the weekly trend. Positive cases are from all age groups, however the most cases have been seen in the 20-29 and 30-39 age group, with no significant difference in gender or ethnicity.
Labasa hospital has responded to the current surge in dengue cases by activating the Dengue Hub Centre, where patients with dengue fever symptoms are being promptly assessed and treated. From December 1st to December 27th 2017, a total of 302 patients with dengue like symptoms have required intravenous fluid hydration, after being assessed by doctors in the Hub. There has been an average of 13 patients per day treated with intravenous fluids at the hub in the last week. There have been 1 to 2 patients admitted to Labasa Hospital with dengue fever. However there have been no admissions for severe dengue (i.e. dengue shock, or dengue haemorrhagic fever), and no deaths during the current outbreak period (November 20th to date).
The symptoms of dengue fever consist of fever with any of the following: joint or muscle pain, headache, pain behind the eyes, loss of appetite, rash, and nausea/vomiting. Please visit your nearest health facility if you have fever and any of these symptoms. Signs of severe dengue, a life threatening complication of dengue fever, include severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, fast breathing, unexplained bruising, bleeding gums, fatigue, restlessness and blood in vomit. Seek immediate medical help if you have any of the danger signs of severe dengue fever.
Early in November 2017, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services worked to raise public awareness as we entered the rainy season, highlighting the risk of an increase of dengue fever cases, and urging the regular elimination of mosquito breeding sites. Surveys carried out in Labasa and Savusavu by the Ministry’s Vector Control Unit in mid November found high population densities of mosquitos that can transmit dengue fever (Aedes species) The Labasa Health Office cleanup and public awareness campaign was undertaken from 4th to 23rd of November for four consecutive Saturdays in dengue fever risk areas, mostly in the urban and peri-urban periphery of Labasa Town. This was a result of the launch of the Northern Division Clean Up Marathon Campaign on the 4th of November 2017 at Vunivau by the Commissioner Northern’s Office, as well as the continuation of the national Fight the Bite Campaign. The Ministry’s Environment Health Unit has also taken prompt actions to conduct targeted spraying of insecticides in hotspot areas from the first week of December, as have ongoing house-to-house inspections.
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services continues to work closely with our stakeholders in the Northern Division, including municipal councils, in our efforts to control the spread of dengue fever by reducing mosquito breeding in and around homes and places of work. However, it is not possible for the Ministry to conduct weekly clean ups of every household and workplace, and so we urge the general public to be vigilant in protecting yourselves and your families during this outbreak. Please maintain regular clean ups of your surroundings through the weekly disposal, or emptying, of water carrying receptacles in and around your homes and places of work.
[Information sourced from here]