Auckland Dengue Fever spike - ARPHS issue health warning for Pacific-bound travellers

With a spike in the number of dengue fever cases in Auckland, Auckland Regional Public Health Service has issued a warning for those travelling to the Pacific Islands to protect themselves against mosquitos.



70 per cent of the dengue fever cases in Auckland are believed to have originated from Samoa, where the illness has claimed four lives already.


Medical Officer of Health Dr Denise Barnfather urged anyone travelling to the Pacific to exercise caution.


“Dengue fever can be a severe illness.


"Those who travel to Pacific countries frequently are at risk of repeat infections with different strains of the dengue virus. This can lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.”


Symptoms of dengue fever include the sudden onset of fever for two to seven days, an intense headache, muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting and a skin rash.


It can also lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever, causing internal bleeding and much worse.


There is no vaccine currently available in the Pacific for dengue fever; nor does vitamin B prevent mosquito bites.


The only way to prevent infection, says Dr Barnfather, is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.


"Although the commonest time for bites is early morning and late afternoon, dengue-carrying mosquitoes also bite all through the day," Dr Barnfather said.


Using insect sprays, mosquito coils and nets, and using air conditioning, are effective ways to prevent being bitten.