34 more dengue cases in latest Samoa numbers

Samoa’s Ministry of Health has released its latest dengue fever numbers, with 34 new cases recorded in the week from April 15 to 21.

This brings the total cases reported from laboratory testing since November last year to 250.

Persons aged 60 years and over, and people living in the North-West Upolu and Apia areas, account for the majority of confirmed cases.

The Ministry of Health declared a dengue outbreak on April 19th after more than 80 cases were reported in the first two weeks of April.

A national half-day cleanup holiday for public servants is on Friday from 1pm to 4pm, local time.

Fumigation mission dates are yet to be confirmed by public health.

The Ministry of Health said dengue is often mild in first-timers, but it can cause complications and severe symptoms in patients who have had COVID two or three times before.

Peaople are warned not to take medicines like aspirin, ibuprofen, or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, as these drugs increase the risk of bleeding, which can be deadly.

Professor Cameron Simmons, director of global delivery at the World Mosquito Programme said he expects the outbreak to calm down over the winter period.

“The outbreak in Samoa is likely to dwindle when it gets a bit cooler – the mosquito population will shrink naturally,” he said.

“That’s what it does every winter and that will probably be the biggest influence on slowing the current outbreak.”

A medical advisor from New Zealand’s Immunisation Advisory Centre, Dr Joan Ingram, said overall cases of dengue have increased more than six-fold since 2000.

“It is expected that cases will continue to increase with climate change and urbanisation,” she said.

“Between 2012 and 2021 there were 69 outbreaks of dengue fever among the Pacific Islands.”

She said after an infected mosquito bite there was an incubation period of 5 to 7 days (maximum 10).

Dengue infection may be unnoticed, a mild illness or significant illness with fever, pain behind the eyes, bone, joint and muscle pain, and sometimes rash, vomiting and diarrhoea.

“In up to 5 percent of infections – most often after a second infection – serious complications such as bleeding or shock can arise.

“There are four different dengue viruses, and infection with one gives long-term protection from that virus, but may make the illness following one of the other three dengue viruses more serious.”

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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