Dengue fever outbreak in Nadi and Ba

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services has declared an outbreak of dengue fever in Nadi and Ba. Since the beginning of 2018 there have been 312 confirmed cases of dengue fever in the Western Division, with the majority of cases from Nadi and Ba Subdivisions. Numbers of confirmed cases have continued to rise above expected levels for the Western Division at this time of the year. We are also closely monitoring an increase in cases from other subdivisions in the West.

The Ministry is especially concerned with the high numbers of confirmed dengue patients requiring admission; 140 admissions have been recorded so far this year in the Western Division. Of these, 51 were admitted at Ba Mission Hospital, and 54 at Nadi Subdivisional Hospital, with 10 in Sigatoka, and 25 at Lautoka Divisional Hospital.  Again, the majority of admissions have been in Nadi and Ba, with each receiving approximately 10 per week. Reports from the Western Divisional Outbreak and Response Team are that most of these patients have been admitted with severe dengue.

The Western Division Team has led the response to the increase in cases, through the treatment of patients and investigation of cases. And they will continue to receive technical assistance from the Ministry’s Fiji Centre for Communicable Disease Control (FCCDC). The Western Team have had regular communication with the Ministry’s Fiji Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Services (FPBS), who have worked to ensure timely procurement and deployment of needed medical supplies. The Ministry will also continue to work closely with the Western Division Team to ensure that necessary resources are provided.

A total of 862 confirmed dengue cases have been recorded in Fiji from the period of 1st January to 16th February 2018, giving an incidence rate of 48.5 per 100,000 population. Central division has recorded 41 confirmed dengue cases and Northern has recorded 509 confirmed dengue cases and Western division has recorded 312 confirmed dengue cases.

We urge the public to please see a doctor if you think you have dengue fever. The symptoms of dengue fever are detailed at the end of this statement and in the accompanying fact sheet.

We urge the people of Fiji to avoid being bitten by mosquitos through the use of DEET containing repellants. Mosquito surveys conducted by the Ministry’s Nadi Health Office in January reported a very high level of breeding of the mosquitos that spread dengue fever i.e. Aedesspecies mosquitos. With a high level of breeding, and an ongoing outbreak, the risk is high that more and more people will get dengue fever.

Ministry of Health and Medical Services clean-up campaigns were launched with our municipal partners from November 2017. During that time we strongly urged the people of Fiji to continue conducting weekly clean ups and removal of water carrying containers, homes, yards, and workplaces. The elimination of mosquito breeding places needs to become a routine activity for all of us. We urge the people of Fiji to take heed of this advice to prevent yourselves and your loved ones from getting dengue fever.

 Dengue Fever Symptoms and Treatment

 The symptoms of dengue fever, which typically begin 5-7 days after being infected by a dengue virus carrying mosquito, include: sudden onset of high fever with severe headache, pain behind the eyes/eye socket, joint pains, muscle pains, tiredness, nausea, vomiting, or skin rash. The symptoms can last 3-7 days before you start to feel better.

More worrying symptoms, or danger signs, which may indicate the life threatening complication of severe dengue fever (dengue haemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome) can occur within the first 24hrs or later in the illness, and include: severe stomach (abdominal) pain, continuous vomiting, fast breathing, unexplained bruising, bleeding gums, tiredness, restlessness and blood in vomit.

There is no cure for dengue fever. The treatment for dengue fever is known as ‘supportive treatment’, i.e. treatment to help relieve the worst symptoms while your body’s immune system fights the virus. Dengue without danger signs can be treated at home with paracetamol (to relieve headache and fever), increased drinking of water and juices (rehydration) and rest. Other pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen (brufen) should be avoided as they can worsen bleeding in severe dengue. Persons with dengue with danger signs need hospital admission.

If you think you or a family member may have dengue fever, please see a doctor so that they can assess you for danger signs. If you have seen a doctor, and then later start to have dangers signs, please immediately go back to the doctor, or to another health facility. If you have danger signs please go to a health facility.