Media Release - Dengue Torres Outbreak Over - 5 July 2004 by lindash

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Media Release - Dengue Torres Outbreak Over - 5 July 2004

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									5 July 2004

                DENGUE OUTBREAK IN TORRES OFFICIALLY OVER

The Tropical Public Health Unit has declared the dengue outbreak in the Torres Strait
officially over, but advises residents to always be on the lookout for mosquito breeding sites.

There were 278 cases of dengue fever notified to the unit between November last year and
April this year. The cases were from Yam, Murray and Thursday islands.

One person died from dengue and two spent more than a month in Cairns Base Hospital’s
Intensive Care Unit recovering from dengue haemorrhagic fever.

The Unit’s public health physician, Dr Jeffrey Hanna, and medical entomologist, Dr Scott
Ritchie, said residents of the Torres Strait would always have to be on the alert for dengue
fever.

“The two most important things people can do is check their yard once a week for mosquito
breeding sites, and wear insect repellent if they are being bitten,” Dr Ritchie said.

“These two simple things can help stop a dengue outbreak, and people need to make them a
habit.”

From the time the outbreak was first recognised, public health staff worked hand in hand with
Torres Strait health and council staff to control the outbreak. The Tropical Public Health Unit
spent more than $150,000 on chemicals, public education and staff travel to the Torres Strait
to help control the outbreak. Twelve environmental health staff from around the state joined
health staff on Thursday Island to get rid of mosquito breeding sites, and extra staff were
employed in Cairns and Townsville to help with disease surveillance.

Dr Hanna said a complicating factor for staff was trying to control three outbreaks in North
Queensland at the same time – in the Torres Strait, in Cairns (which has had 76 cases) and
Townsville (which has had 57 cases).

“On top of that were outbreaks of malaria, leptospirosis and melioidosis in North Queensland,
plus Japanese Encephalitis activity in Bamaga, all of which made for a very busy wet season.”

The last big outbreak of dengue fever in the Torres Strait was in 1996-97, when 201 cases
were recorded.


Ends…

Media inquiries:
Salli Makin, Media & Communications Officer
Ph: (07) 4050 8320 or Mobile: 0405 108512

								
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