Health authorities in New Zealand are warning Kiwis of a possible dengue outbreak following the spate of the disease in Fiji which has already killed three people in the island nation in the South Pacific Ocean. Fiji hospitals have been reported to be swamped with more than 2,000 cases.
All four known serotypes of the virus are for the first time very much active in the region, essentially ushering the most severe and potentially deadly dengue haemorrhagic fever.
As of December 2013 alone, dengue cases in New Zealand have jumped 41 per cent month on month, most coming from Auckland.
Fiji has 2,589 confirmed cases of dengue to date. Its Ministry of Information overruled the breakout will spread to tourists or foreign visitors. Most of the dengue cases currently swiping at the in the island nation were found at Suva. The main resort island of Denarau, its lucrative tourist belt, had recorded no cases so far.
Still, Kiwis ought to be prepared anytime, Dr Mary McIntyre, of the University of Otago's Ecology and Health Laboratory in Wellington, said.
"We are creating situations that make things easier for those pests and pathogens that already cause us woe," TVNZ quoted Ms McIntyre.
The mosquito responsible for bringing the virus has travel, trade and land use as options to bring in the virus.
"A warmer climate means that foreign mosquitoes can move into areas that were previously too cool, where they usually replace native ones," she said.
She advised New Zealanders who get dengue abroad but recovered back home are "at risk of a more serious haemorrhagic condition [if] reinfected in the future with a different strain of dengue virus."