Recent outbreaks of dengue fever in the Pacific has prompted the Ministry of Health to start a ‘fight the bite – day and night’ campaign against mozzie-spread diseases.

The  Ministry’s social media and online campaign started on March 16 to raise more awareness of the diseases mosquitoes in some countries can carry.

It was prompted by recent outbreaks of dengue in parts of the Pacific and an increased number of dengue cases recorded, mainly in Auckland, among travellers returning from the Pacific.

From 1 August last year through to 14 March, 263 dengue cases were reported in New Zealand, with 222 believed to have been acquired in the Pacific Islands. This includes 162 in Samoa, 30 in Tonga, 24 in Fiji, one in American Samoa and one in Vanuatu. One hundred and sixty-nine people were hospitalised.

Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay said fortunately, New Zealand’s mosquitos did not spread dengue or other viral diseases such as malaria, yellow fever and Zika.

“But as the recent increase in dengue cases in Auckland shows, there is a very real risk to people travelling to countries with tropical climates. Our new campaign aims to highlight to people travelling overseas that mosquito bites can result in serious diseases, such as dengue. And these diseases can make you or your loved ones very sick.”

Dr McElnay said the best way to avoid mosquito-borne diseases was to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

The Ministry has released a new video to launch the campaign with tips on how to prevent mosquito bites.

More information about dengue, including symptoms and treatment, as well as Samoan, Tongan and Fijian translations, is available here.

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