Health chief clarifies dengue alarm

By Deidre Tautua-Fanene ,

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DIRECTOR GENERAL OF HEALTH: Leausa Dr. Take Naseri.

DIRECTOR GENERAL OF HEALTH: Leausa Dr. Take Naseri. (Photo: File)

The dengue fever alert distributed by the Ministry of Health last week was issued erroneously. 

This is according to the Director General of the Ministry of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri.

He said specific instructions were given for the notice to be an alert within the hospital.

“The notice was more of an alert to the doctors to be cautious that there is a dengue like presentation but we are waiting for confirmation,” he said.

“There are two cases that were positive however they are weak so it means it is inconclusive in that sense and so I told them to do an alert because these are not the only cases that we are receiving at the moment.

“So far there are four positive cases but they are weak.”

He clarified that cases such as these are called rapid tests.

“Rapid test it usually is more sensitive because there is most likely a bigger percentage that it will come out positive but we need to send it to a test that is more specific that this is dengue,” he said.

“We have already sent it overseas but so far we haven’t got the lab confirmatory test yet, but the only positives that we got so far are the rapid tests.

“However, we are not sitting back because the people are interested and are worrying so we are taking advantage of it to promote the source reduction and that the people can be aware that there is something happening and that it is carrying by mosquito.”

He also clarified that the two deaths mentioned in the notice were not confirmed cases of dengue fever.

“What we are getting, are all positive rapid tests and these are more of screening tests but we are still waiting confirmatory tests,” he said.

“But even if it is positive we haven’t got the numbers to call it an outbreak.”

He said it is only when the number reaches 19 to 20 when they can declare an outbreak.

 “It has been a while since there was an outbreak of dengue in Samoa. We know American Samoa had an outbreak of dengue in the beginning of the year but we were strict on our boarder control and we sprayed all those areas to make sure it doesn’t affect us.

“So at the moment there is still an alert but once there is confirmation and the requirements have met to call it an outbreak then we will inform everyone that there is an outbreak.

“This was supposed to be just for the C.M.E. listings of doctors but it has leaked outside, but we are actually taking advantage of this to warn the public.

“So to me I don’t want to cause unnecessary panic to the public but at the same time we need to enforce the knowledge of the people and continue on with the alert.”

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