Tonga battles dengue fever outbreak

Tongan Health authority has today declared the dengue fever outbreak in the kingdom after 33 patients had been confimed as victims of the viral disease.

The authority said it expected more patients of dengue fever “in the coming weeks or months”.

“The Ministry is calling on all Tongans to be vigilant,” it says in a statement.

It has been reported the youngest patient who suffered from the fever was 12 years old.

Tonga’s Ministry of Health has also issued the following information about Dengue Fever.

Symptoms of Dengue should be suspected when a high fever (above 38°C) is accompanied by two of the following symptoms for Adults:

  • severe headache,
  • pain behind the eyes,
  • muscle and joint pains,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting
  • swollen glands or
  • rash
  • bleeding from any part of the body

And for a Child: has fever ( above 38°C) with one of the following symptoms

  • poor drinking
  • poor passing urine
  • rash
  • cold/blue extremities
  • bleeding from any part of the body e.g. nose, gums etc.

There is no specific treatment or vaccine for dengue. The best way to protect against dengue fever is to control breeding places around your house and prevent mosquito bites during an outbreak. Take the three following simple steps to protect yourself and your family against Dengue:

Step 1: Remove mosquito breeding areas. Clear stagnant water around your house by disposing, emptying, or covering open containers, tanks, used tyres, bowls, gutters, buckets and coconut shells.

Step 2: Protect yourself. Use insect repellent and mosquito coils, wear light-coloured long-sleeved clothing, sleep under a bed net and, when possible, install window screens in the house.

Step 3: If you suspect you have Dengue Fever, drink plenty of clean water, take panadol and rest at home. You should avoid taking aspirin and ibuprofen. Symptoms will last for 2-7 days.

You do not need to see a doctor during this time unless symptoms are severe.

Severe symptoms may include abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, rapid breathing, bleeding gums, severe fatigue, or blood in your vomit. You must seek medical attention if you experience one or more of these symptoms. Severe dengue can kill; proper medical care is needed to avoid complications and risk of death. If in doubt, see your doctor.

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