Importation of dengue by soldiers returning from East Timor to North Queensland, Australia

Kitchener, Scott, Leggat, Peter A., Brennan, Leonard, and MCall, Bradley (2002) Importation of dengue by soldiers returning from East Timor to North Queensland, Australia. Journal of Travel Medicine, 9 (3). pp. 180-183.

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Abstract

Background: Soldiers based in Townsville, Australia, returned from East Timor following peacekeeping operations during the wet season of 1999 to 2000. This represented the potential to import dengue virus into north Queensland, a dengue receptive area of Australia. This article seeks to outline the measures taken by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to prevent local transmission and to present the outcomes.

Methods: Soldiers returning to north Queensland were provided with education on dengue fever and in the fortnight before return, their living areas were subjected to intensive vector control measures, in order to reduce the risk of acquisition of dengue. They were further encouraged to present early with any febrile illness following their return to Townsville. Provisionally diagnosed dengue cases were notified to the state public health authorities immediately and cases were isolated until suitable vector control programs were implemented or the potentially viremic period exceeded. Serologic and virologic investigations were undertaken to identify the passage and probable serotype or confirm the presence and serotype of dengue virus.

Results: Nine serologically confirmed cases of dengue were identified as viremic in north Queensland. Six cases were identified as arising from dengue serotype 2, two were from serotype 3, and one case was ill defined. No dengue cases have been reported in the local population 4 months following these ADF cases.

Conclusions: Local outbreaks of dengue fever have occurred in north Queensland following the importation of dengue virus in returned travelers. The successful prevention of local transmission in these circumstances was contributed to by early notification of cases and prevention of transmission through isolation of cases and collaboration between ADF and state and local public health authorities in vector control. The management of potentially viremic returning service personnel represents a future challenge for the ADF.

Item ID: 27431
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: dengue, East Timor, Australian Defence Force
ISSN: 1708-8305
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2013 04:24
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111716 Preventive Medicine @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920412 Preventive Medicine @ 100%
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