PNG on alert for dengue fever

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday 28th March 2013

 PAPUA New Guinea has been placed on red alert for dengue fever now that there have been reports of an outbreak in the Solomon Islands.

Health and HIV/AIDS Minister Michael Malabag issued the warning yesterday and instructed pre-cautions to avoid an outbreak in PNG.

He has ordered the health department to take immediate steps to prevent the spread of the fever should it occur.

Malabag directed the department to review emergency plans for the establishment of a multi-sectoral dengue committee, formalise an emergency dengue action plan, enhance disease surveillance, review laboratory testing capacities and referral networks, implement dengue management refresher training for clinical staff, review risk communication and dengue-related information material and disinfection of planes from the Solomon Islands.

He said the World Health Organisation, Naqia and health department should make all efforts to prevent it reaching PNG and be ready to control it if there was an outbreak.

He urged local governments, authorities and provincial governments to carry out clean-up programmes – removing mosquito-breeding sites such as containers and stagnant water.

Mosquitoes that carried dengue virus (Aedes) normally bite late afternoons and early mornings, Malabag said.

He appealed to communities to take immediate action by ensuring that mosquito-breeding sites were cleared and insecticides applied.

More information be obtained by contacting the department on 323 6179, 301 3730, 7217 9728 or 7129 1609.