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Home Eurosurveillance Weekly Release  2003: Volume 7/ Issue 12 Article 5
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Eurosurveillance, Volume 7, Issue 12, 20 March 2003

Citation style for this article: Lawrence J. Dengue fever in Cairns, Australia – update. Euro Surveill. 2003;7(12):pii=2191. Available online:

Dengue fever in Cairns, Australia: update

Jo Lawrence (, Public Health Laboratory Service Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, London, England.

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 fatal.

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).


References :
  1. Queensland Health, Queensland Government, Australia. Dengue update (press release). 17 March 2003.
  2. Lawrence J. Dengue fever in Cairns, Australia. Eurosurveillance Weekly 2003; 7: 030306 (

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