Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

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Dengue Fever outbreak

An outbreak of Dengue fever is currently ongoing in American Samoa, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Palau and Samoa. Dengue is also common in a number of other countries on the Pacific Rim, including Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam. Dengue fever is a viral disease spread by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito and can cause significant symptoms. Symptoms include high fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, joint pain, muscle and bone pain, rash and mild bleeding (e.g nose bleeds). A small proportion of dengue fever cases have a severe disease which can lead to shock or death. 

There are four closely related variants of dengue, and the current outbreak in these Pacific countries includes a strain not common locally for many years. Infection with one variant gives lifelong protection against that particular variant but does not give protection against the three other types of dengue. Dengue infection may also be asymptomatic. After an initial dengue infection, infection with another variant has been shown to pose a greater risk for serious dengue disease. All residents of dengue-affected areas, whether you have been previously infected or not, should take precautions to prevent infection.

As Dengue fever is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, which is most active during the daytime, New Zealanders in these countries should take extreme care and take protective measures to prevent mosquito bites. Travellers are advised to use insect repellent, wear protective clothing, and stay in lodgings where there are mosquito screens on windows and doors. The Ministry of Health website contains more advice on avoiding mosquito bites while travelling.

Associated Advisories:

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