January 5th 2009
Dengue fever outbreak in Townsville
Residents of Townsville and Magnetic Island are urged to protect themselves against dengue fever, with two confirmed locally-acquired cases having been identified recently.
An unrelated man and a woman, both from North Ward, have been confirmed as having contracted dengue fever type 1. This is a different strain to that which is currently causing the outbreak of dengue fever in Cairns.
Acting Director with Tropical Population Health Services in Townsville, Mr David Sellars, said mosquito surveillance and control work was under way in North Ward.
Townsville City Council staff are assisting Tropical Population Health Services in mosquito control efforts.
Mr Sellars said it was important for all Townsville residents to protect themselves now against dengue to avoid an escalation of the outbreak.
"Residents should avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and get rid of breeding sites such as old tyres, buckets, toys and pot plant bases around their homes and workplaces. Residents should also ensure that roof gutters are not blocked and breeding mosquitoes."
Residents are advised to: once a week, check your yard for mosquito breeding. Tip out, flush out, throw away or store dry any containers holding water in which mosquitoes can breed, wear insect repellent if being bitten, especially during the day
use surface spray, mozzie zappers and coils around the house to discourage mosquitoes.
"The message is - if you stop the mosquito breeding, you can stop the disease."
People with symptoms of dengue - such as fever, headache, rash, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea, and fatigue - should see a doctor immediately. There is no medical cure for dengue fever and no vaccine. The serious form of the disease, Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever, can be fatal, especially in young children.
General practitioners are urged to report any suspected cases of dengue fever to Tropical Population Health Services.
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