Friday 18 December 2009

Yet another reason not to visit Townsville

Townsville now has two separate dengue fever outbreaks circulating at the same

A dengue fever outbreak was declared last month, with a total of 11 confirmed cases so far, mainly in the suburbs of Garbutt and Heatley. Additional tests showed dengue type 1 was causing the outbreak.

Now Queensland Health has determined two confirmed dengue cases in Wulguru residents are type 3.

Tropical Regional Services Public Health Medical Officer Dr Steven Donohue said that this means two separate strains of the disease are now in the city.

“The fact there are now two strains circulating is of great concern,” said Dr Donohue. “We are unaware of the origin of this new dengue type 3 outbreak, but significant mosquito breeding sites have been found by mosquito control officers in Wulguru."

“We will be genotyping this virus to compare it with the dengue type 3 epidemic strain early this year — although we feel it’s unlikely it managed to persist through from last season,” Dr Donohue says.

Queensland Health says that those who have had another dengue type previously, are at increased risk of more serious illness with a second dose of the disease. This can include complications such as dengue haemorrhagic fever, with can lead to death.

Dr Donohue confirmed that results were also pending on four other cases.

“This is a bad sign given that we have not even had significant rains yet and lots of people travel around over Christmas,” he said.

It's important that individuals as well as businesses — get rid of mosquito breeding sites around the yard and workplace, Queensland Health stresses.

“We want to ensure people are as prepared as possible this year to avoid a repeat of last year.”

The North Queensland dengue epidemic during the last wet season was the largest in at least 50 years.

Dengue outbreaks last season recorded 915 cases, mainly in Cairns, whilst there were 57 type one and 16 type three cases in Townsville.

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