Queensland Dengue epidemic continues unabated

As the Dengue fever outbreak in Cairns continues unabated a health official has said the outbreak is the worst in Queensland since World War II times.

The number of confirmed cases has now reached epidemic levels with more than 160 reported in recent weeks.

Dr. Linda Selvey from the Tropical Population Health says 167 cases have been confirmed in Cairns but numbers are expected to reach in excess of 200 by the end of the month - 9 cases have also been reported in Townsville but of a different strain which is not as virulent.

To improve eradication attempts an incident management team is being established and 20 extra mosquito control officers are being trained to help deal with the outbreak.

Dr. Selvey says controlling the current outbreak affecting Cairns had been harder as the strain of Dengue circulating, type 3 Dengue fever, is more aggressive than in previous years - there are four types of Dengue fever and each type has different strains.

Dr. Selvey says the epidemic is of great concern and must be taken seriously which is reflected by the additional resources being employed.

The special health taskforce will include a logistics officer, a public health nurse, some additional administration support and significant number of additional vector control officers will be trained.

According to Dr. Selvey many of those affected required hospital treatment and one person needed had intensive care treatment.

This particularly virulent strain of the mosquito-borne disease is suspected to have come from Indonesia and is more of a problem because of it's short incubation time which means the virus multiplies faster and people are infected much more quickly and getting sicker much quicker than would normally have been expected.

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