SUVA, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Fiji's Ministry of Health said Thursday it has confirmed that 11 people have died and over 10,000 others have been infected during the current dengue fever outbreak.
The ministry has launched a major campaign to get rid of possible breeding areas for mosquitoes which may carry the virus.
Health Minister Neil Sharma said the outbreak involves the type- 3 strain of dengue fever which has never been seen before in the South Pacific island country, according to the government-owned Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC).
Sharma said he is aware that there is an endemic for dengue infections periodically and Fiji tends to have a surge every five years.
Noting that there are also fears the number of people infected may be actually close to 15,000 with under reporting a major concern, the minister said current testing procedures need to be strengthened.
China has donated 50,000 U.S. dollars to Fiji to assist its efforts to combat the outbreak.
Dengue fever is caused by the dengue virus and the virus is spread from dengue infected individuals to well dengue-free persons by the black-and-white striped female Aedes aegypti mosquito when it takes a blood meal.
Once an individual contracts dengue, the person manifests symptoms of the disease four to 10 days later. The typical symptoms of dengue fever include fever (sudden onset), intense headache (especially behind the eyes), muscle and joint pains, flushed skin or rashes on the arms and legs, and perhaps minor bleeding of the gums and/or nose.