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Concerns in Samoa as Pacific's dengue challenge grows

[SN  file photo]

The Pacific Community says it's concerned about outbreaks of dengue fever in the region becoming harder to combat.

This comes amid signs that Samoa's government may be downplaying the extent of the spread of dengue in the country.

The Pacific Community, or SPC, is currently monitoring outbreaks of the mosquito-borne disease in French Polynesia, Samoa, American Samoa, Fiji, and Wallis and Futuna.

SPC's acting deputy director for public health unit, Sala Saketa, said there were often just one or two strains at any one time, with serotype 2 the most common.

But according to Dr Saketa, there had been ongoing shifts in the dengue strain as well as other major challenges.

"While the challenge, of course, is to prevent or control these diseases and so because of the nature of these countries, who have resource constraints as often they don't have the resources to combat such an outbreak depending on the size and the number of people being affected, and so this is kind of the challenge that we are seeing."

Dr Saketa said there was a need for better strategies and more in-depth research to combat it. The situation around dengue in Samoa appeared to underline her comment.