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Dengue cases up to 170 in Cook Islands
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Cook Islands has recorded 170 cases of suspected dengue fever over the last three weeks, the Cook Islands News reported on Thursday.

Cook Islands Ministry of Health this week said 13 people have been admitted to hospital showing symptoms of the mosquito-borne disease with results expected to be received from Australia this week confirming the presence of a new outbreak in Rarotonga.

The ministry said that no evidence has suggested the infection has reached the outer islands.

A national clean up campaign was undertaken last week with environmental risk assessments and actions completed for all probable cases. Many empty cans, bottles and plastic bags were disposed of immediately, the daily said.

Residences of the 170 probable dengue cases were identified.

This week, the public health team has assessed known natural and man-made habitats which include the Rarotonga Airport, seaport and other high risk areas with appropriate action completed.

The public is urged to take preventative measures and to control the spread of infection to keep the community safe. This is through the clearing of mosquito breading areas and removing containers and other water filled objects on their properties as well as using personal protection measures like insect repellents.

The public health team will continue to do surveillance and to monitor the situation and raise awareness.

Information pamphlets have been distributed throughout the Cook Islands and are available to visitors on arrival.

(Xinhua News Agency April 17, 2009)

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