Five children are among those affected by a mosquito-borne disease that has struck down dozens of Kiwi travellers returning from the Pacific.

A total of 14 new cases of dengue fever have been reported to authorities this month, the Ministry of Health said, with numbers spiking in recent months.

Nationwide, up to 165 cases of dengue fever were notified last year. That figure was markedly lower than in 2016, when 191 people caught the disease.

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service said 73 cases of dengue had been made known to them between last October 1 to January 11.


"Five cases have been among children aged less than 15 years (7 per cent),'' a spokeswoman said.

No deaths associated with the disease have been reported in New Zealand during that period.

The updated case numbers follow a warning to Kiwis travelling to parts of the Pacific and particularly in Samoa, where more than 2000 cases of dengue have been reported since October.

The disease is spread by mosquitoes.

Symptoms of dengue fever include the sudden onset of fever for two to seven days, intense headache, muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting and skin rash.

It can cause severe illness that can lead to death.

The Ministry has issued warnings via the SafeTravel website.

It is advising anyone visiting Pacific countries as well as Thailand, Malaysia and parts of Australia, to take precautionary measures such as using insect repellents, mosquito nets when sleeping or wearing long-sleeved shirts and trousers.

Samoa's Ministry of Health has confirmed to local media that at least five people have died from the disease.

In New Zealand, director of public health Dr Caroline McElnay acknowledged there had been a spike in the number of dengue cases over the last few months.

"There were 25 cases notified in November, 2017, and 29 cases notified in December, 2017. Many of these cases are residents in Auckland,'' she said.

"There is a heightened awareness at the moment of the disease as holidaymakers travel between New Zealand and the Pacific.''

A Ministry of Health spokesman said it actively encouraged travellers between New Zealand and the Pacific Islands to be aware of the risk of Dengue Fever and to take steps to avoid being bitten.

"The ministry is closely monitoring the current outbreak in Samoa and is liaising with health authorities in Samoa as cases are reported in this country.

"We are regularly updating our messages around Dengue Fever on our website and on social media platforms, including Twitter and You Tube.

"This page has a number of key messages to help people avoid being bitten."

Travellers were advised to regularly check the Government's Safe Travel website before they left our shores.

The Ministry of Health and Auckland Regional Public Health have also worked together on key messages