December 11th 2009
Dengue cases increase locally
Townsville and Magnetic Island residents are being urged to protect themselves against dengue fever following a spike of locally-acquired cases in the region over the past few days.
Queensland Health today announced there have been 10 confirmed dengue type
one cases in the outbreak, which began in Heatley in early November.
Tropical Regional Services Public Health Medical Officer Dr Steven Donohue is
concerned that the outbreak has now spread to Garbutt, Stuart and Wulguru.
“We have had seven cases confirmed in just the past few days,” said Dr Donohue.
“I am also concerned because people contracted dengue from infected dengue
mosquitos in areas with no known link to earlier generations of transmission.
“This means there have been infectious cases moving around that we do not know
“Dengue cases could now occur anywhere in Townsville and beyond, and could set
us up for a bigger outbreak once the more intense rains arrive.”
Dr Donohue said the recent spike in dengue cases was a crucial reminder for
Townsville residents to take action.
“The north Queensland dengue epidemics during the last wet season were the
largest in at least 50 years, and with this wet season yet to fully arrive, I strongly urge all local residents to take preventative steps,” said Dr Donohue.
“It is important that people — individuals as well as businesses — get rid of mosquito
breeding sites around the yard and workplace.
“We want to ensure people are as prepared as possible this year to avoid a repeat of last year.”
Dengue outbreaks spread to Townsville in December 2008, with 57 type one and
sixteen type three cases confirmed with the mosquito-borne disease, before it was
declared over in May.
The rest of north Queensland had 915 cases during the same period, mainly in
“Dengue mosquitoes only breed around homes and in urban areas, and not in
swamps or creeks,” said Dr Donohue.
“Therefore, I urge all Townsville residents to take immediate action to help prevent
further dengue cases”.
Specifically, this means:
• once a week, residents should check their yard for mosquito breeding. Tip
out, flush out, throw away or store dry any containers holding water in which
mosquitoes can breed
• wear appropriate insect repellent to avoid being bitten, especially during the
• use indoor surface spray, mozzie zappers and coils around the house to
• Common dengue mozzie breeding sites include tyres, buckets, toys and pot
plant bases. Residents should also ensure that roof gutters are not blocked
and breeding mosquitoes.
More information about dengue fever is available at www.health.qld.gov.au/dengue
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