Urgent alert after dengue fever discovered in unexpected Queensland city

An urgent alert has been issued after a Queensland resident was diagnosed with dengue fever.

The diagnosis in Rockhampton, near the state’s central coast, has sparked a full outbreak response from Central Queensland Public Health Unit and the local council, with the case the first in the area in decades.

Residents in Rockhampton near the person’s home will be contacted through door knocks on Friday.

Queensland Health confirmed the person, whose gender or age has not been confirmed, had been bitten by a mosquito capable of transmitting dengue.

Dr Gulam Khandaker, Director of Central Queensland Public Health Unit, said in a statement the individual hadn’t travelled overseas or to Northern Queensland where dengue outbreaks are known to occur.

A Rockhampton resident has been diagnosed with dengue fever after being bit by a mosquito. Source: AAP, file.
A Rockhampton resident has been diagnosed with dengue fever after being bit by a mosquito. Source: AAP, file.

“It is known that Aedes aegypti, a mosquito capable of transmitting dengue, is present in some areas of Rockhampton however as mosquito numbers are small and located in areas with low population density, locally acquired cases do not usually occur,” he said.

Queensland Health has comprehensive dengue management plans to manage cases and outbreaks of dengue, according to Dr Khandaker.

Typical symptoms of dengue fever can include sudden onset of fever, extreme tiredness and intense headache as well as muscle and joint pain, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Abdominal pain, rashes, minor bleeding from the nose or gums or heavy menstrual periods are other symptoms people suffer.

Symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Dengue fever prevention

Anyone with these symptoms should see their GP immediately to discuss the need for a dengue fever test.

The dengue virus does not spread directly from person to person.

The best protection against mosquito-borne diseases, such as dengue, is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

There are a number of methods in which resident can protect themselves including using mosquito coils or plug-in mosquito repellent devices inside, screen living and sleeping areas.

Residents are advised to wear long-sleeved, light-coloured clothing, and to cover their feet.

Insect repellent containing DEET (diethyl toluamide) or picaridin is recommended.

The mosquito that transmits dengue lives and breeds around domestic premises and bites during the day.

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