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Dengue fever case in Rockhampton prompts full outbreak response after it was acquired locally

A full outbreak response is being enacted in Rockhampton after confirmation of the first locally acquired case of dengue fever in the region in decades.

Rockhampton Regional Council and Central Queensland Public Health Unit officials will today doorknock residents near the patient’s home to warn locals to take precautions.

Mayor Margaret Strelow said council officers would work closely with health authorities.

“They will begin with the case house, the affected house and then work out in concentric circles, that is the expectation,” Ms Strelow said.

“Other details I really can’t release. As I understand it, you don’t need large numbers of mosquitoes for there to be a case — which is probably the great frustration in this — but certainly it is the first, we believe, locally acquired case.”

Central Queensland Public Health Unit director Dr Gulam Khandaker said the person was bitten by a local Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is capable of transmitting the disease.

“The individual has no history of overseas travel or travel to north Queensland, where dengue outbreaks are known to occur,” Dr Khandaker said.

“[The Aedes aegypti mosquito] 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.

“Queensland Health has comprehensive dengue management plans to manage cases and outbreaks of dengue.”

Dr Khandaker said dengue fever symptoms could range from mild to severe.

“Typical symptoms of dengue fever can include sudden onset of fever, extreme tiredness, intense headache, muscle and joint pain, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, rash, minor bleeding from the nose or gums and/or heavy menstrual periods,” he said.

“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.”

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