by Marie Kauna – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
Vanuatu has a recorded number of increasing Dengue cases.
In December last year, Vanuatu’s Ministry of Health has confirmed two dengue cases from Port Villa.
The confirmed victims were monitored closely to ensure they were treated accordingly. While monitoring the two cases, another six more cases were confirmed, adding the total to eight.
Earlier last month (January), the Ministry of Health reported an increase from December to 359 cases. From the total reported, 66 were confirmed positive while the others were suspected to have the virus.
By the end of the month, the number of suspected cases has increased to 919, with 142 confirmed positive. The cases were reported from Efate, Urban Port Vila, and nearby rural areas; Sola in Torba province, Luganville in Sanma, Emae in Shefa, Norsup in Malampa province and Lenakel in Tanna, Tafea province.
From the recorded cases, so far, Tanna Island has recorded 435 dengue cases. This was confirmed by Allied Services Manager at Lenakel Hospital, Malao John, who is part of the Dengue Taskforce, after running tests from a total of 435 cases.
From the 435, 115 were confirmed positive, with only four who were hospitalised.
According to Mr John, one from the four hospitalised has suffered spontaneous bleeding while the other three have been very much ill. Due to treatment shortage, the suspected cases were sent home.
Esau Nakat, the Manager of Malaria and Vector Borne Disease Department, said dengue fever has spread to other provinces apart from those that have reported cases.
Nakat said this is due to high commutation of people going back to their islands from Port Villa for holidays and other activities. He further added that the current wet seasons is another factor contributing to the spread of dengue fever in Vanuatu.
Nakat confirmed the increasing number of dengue cases this year, as the highest record compared to 2014 records.
With the increasing cases, Director of the Public Health Department has formally requested the Vanuatu Red Cross Society to assist the health response field teams, conduct community education and awareness in and around Vanuatu.
The National Dengue Task Force has also issued a press statement, for the respective organisations and individuals to focus more on education and awareness as this is the key preventative measure that will help control the epidemic in Vanuatu.