There are now 85 confirmed cases of dengue fever in Cairns
as of 19 March 2003. No cases have been reported outside of Cairns in this
outbreak. [Rosalie Spencer, Queensland Health - personal communication, 19
March 2003] The areas currently affected are Parramatta Park, Manunda, Cairns
North, Yorkeys Knob, and Trinity Beach (1).
Since the outbreak began in February 2003 (2), the Dengue Action Response
Team (DART) has been conducting house to house checks in most inner city,
and some northern beaches suburbs, encouraging residents to eliminate mosquito
breeding sites around their yards and homes. The DART has also been spraying
household insecticide sprays inside homes and is advising people in all
affected and potentially affected areas to use mosquito coils and repellents
to avoid bites.
No cases of dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) have been reported, but people
who acquired dengue in the last large outbreak in Cairns in 1997-99 would
be at risk of developing haemorrhagic fever if they caught dengue fever
again in this outbreak. DHF can occur when a person previously infected
with dengue, becomes infected with a different dengue serotype, and is potentially
Travellers to Australia are strongly reminded to take measures to prevent
mosquito bites, to protect themselves against dengue fever and other mosquito
borne diseases. (See reference 2 for specific advice).