September 7, 2008

Fiji Hospital Reports 10 “Very Severe” Dengue Cases

Text of report by Fiji Daily Post website on 6 September

[by Sanjay Goundar] Ten very severe dengue fever cases were reported at second largest hospital in the country and medical authorities appear baffled with the situation. General manager community health services in the west [i.e. Western Division - western Viti Levu, including the main tourist area] Dr Tharid Ali yesterday revealed the 10 who were admitted at the Lautoka Hospital had acquired the dengue hemorrhagic fever.

Ali said that because of the fever patients started suffering from nose bleeding and body pains. He added that all the patients were undergoing thorough medical treatment and were under the close observation of doctors at the hospital.

Ali, however, confirmed that so far there have not been any casualties from the virus in the Western Division or throughout the country. He said that as of yesterday morning 42 cases of dengue fever were reported from throughout the Western Division, out of which 22 cases were from Lautoka Hospital alone.

Twelve cases have been reported from the Sigatoka Hospital and 10 cases from the Tavua Hospital.

"The epidemic is very much established and we expect more cases to come up in the following weeks," Ali said. "We are now urging members of the public with symptoms of dengue fever to immediately visit their nearest medical centre or hospital for appropriate treatment.

"The epidemic has just started so we cannot say how severe it would be or whether casualties are possible nonetheless we have put the whole division on high dengue alert and are urging people to be very careful," he added.

Meanwhile, the last dengue epidemic Fiji had was in 2002 where several cases were reported. However, in 1998 the epidemic escalated to unprecedented levels with 13 people losing their lives from the disease.

[The Fiji Times website said on 7 September that an "an alarming rise in dengue fever cases" had been reported in the Western Division, from 42 to 60 within 24 hours. "And it is expected to increase as doctors receive an average of 15 cases a day."]

Originally published by Fiji Daily Post website, Suva in English 6 Sep 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.