Via TVNZ, a Fairfax report: Dengue fever fears for NZ after Fiji outbreak. Excerpt:
An outbreak of dengue fever that has killed three people and swamped hospitals in Fiji may be headed for New Zealand, experts warn.
For the first time all four known serotypes of the virus are active in the region, threatening the severe and potentially deadly dengue haemorrhagic fever.
In New Zealand the latest figures (December 2013) show a 41 per cent jump in the monthly reported cases of dengue, most of them in Auckland.
Reports from around the Pacific show a dengue epidemic has the potential to hit New Zealand, having already swept through northern Queensland, New Caledonia, French Polynesia and the Solomon Islands.
In Fiji, where there have been 2589 confirmed cases, the military regime claims there is "little chance" that the fever will hit its lucrative tourist belt.
Dr Mary McIntyre, of the University of Otago's Ecology and Health Laboratory in Wellington, does not rule out mosquitoes capable of spreading dengue from getting established here.
"We are creating situations that make things easier for those pests and pathogens that already cause us woe," she says.
Travel was spreading the virus and trade could bring in the mosquitoes, such a dengue's main vector Aedes aegypti.
Land use is also changing in New Zealand making it favourable for mosquitoes.
"A warmer climate means that foreign mosquitoes can move into areas that were previously too cool, where they usually replace native ones," she said, noting this had recently happened in Palmerston North.