Dozens of people holidaying in the Pacific are returning home with dengue fever, with more than 100 cases being notified to health authorities in the last month.

The Ministry of Health said that in the last four weeks, a total of 103 cases or notifications of dengue fever had been made known to officials.

In the last week, 23 dengue cases were reported.

Of those people and during their incubation period, 12 patients had been in Samoa. Five people had recently been in Tonga and two had been in Fiji. Information for the others was not known.


A number of the cases in the last week include children; with nine people being aged between 10 to 19 years old. A total of 14 of those cases were aged 20 years or older.

In Auckland alone, up to 112 adults and 24 children have had confirmed or probable cases of dengue fever notified to the Auckland Regional Public Health Service since the latest outbreak on November 1, 2017.

The latest figures come after the second dengue-related death of a New Zealand resident in recent months.

Aucklander Toafei Matahiva Telefoni, 12, died in Tonga last month after contracting the disease while spending the holidays in the island nation.

The youngster was taken to a local hospital three times after constant complaints of feeling hot.

An uncle, Kinga Langi, told the Herald it was not until the fourth trip to hospital that she was diagnosed with dengue fever.

"They did not diagnose her, thinking it was just [the] flu. She began vomiting and for the fourth time, they admitted her ... but it was too late.''

Toafei's funeral was held in South Auckland late last week.


Her death followed that of former South Auckland resident So'oalo Fiaalii Mariner, who was admitted to a hospital in Samoa just a few weeks after he and his family moved over. He died just a few weeks before Christmas.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Health said the figures reinforced how important it is to ensure people remained as vigilant as possible during the current outbreak in the Pacific.

More than 2,500 cases of dengue fever have reported in Samoa in recent months, with up to five deaths. However, those are the cases that have been made known to authorities and it is thought there are many other unreported cases.

An outbreak has also been declared in the island kingdom of Tonga.

"Travellers should check the Safe Travel site for advice about precautions and health advisories about countries they're travelling to,'' a MoH spokesman said.

"The Ministry of Health advises anyone who has recently travelled to the Pacific Islands and is feeling unwell to seek medical advice.''

Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito Su'a William Sio, was among the mourners at 12-year-old Toafei's funeral.

"It's just a tragedy. Parents aren't supposed to bury their children.''

Sio said there were moves by both the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get more information and material to Pacific countries; but there needed to be greater work done to get the messages out there.

It was even more vital given the Pasifika community in New Zealand was a very mobile one; with people often going to and from motherland countries regularly for family obligations and the like.

"I'm not trying to cause panic ... because these diseases are not new. But they seem to be more prevalent and we just want to make people aware.

"Our priority is to keep people safe."


• Cover up: Wear long pants and sleeves

• Spray: Use DEET insect repellent with at least tropical strength

• If feeling ill, take paracetamol and drink lots of fluids and seek medical attention