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Australian tourist destination hit by dengue fever epidemic  Feb 03, 2009

Cairns, a popular northern Queensland tourist destination, and gateway to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, has been hit by dengue fever and authorities are concerned that the deadly disease could spread to other parts of the country and threaten the stability of the country’s already-troubled tourism industry.

During the summer months, the number of reported cases of the mosquito-borne disease has been on the rise. Normally, dengue fever is associated with developing countries.

The number infected in Cairns has risen to 226, and in Townsville, a resort centre located 200 miles to the south, 31 people have contracted the disease.

Most at risk from the debilitating effects of the disease are babies and young children. The symptoms of dengue fever include backache, chills and sore eyes. As it progresses, those infected experience painful aches in the legs and joints and temperatures that can reach 40°C. Other possible symptoms include a pink rash and swollen glands.

The government of Queensland is publicly vowing to stop the spread of the disease to other regions, and had told area residents to stay away from areas of stagnant water. It was also announced that mosquito repellent would be issued to all school children in the northern part of the state. Extermination teams have been spraying caravan sites, parks and schools.

Australian tourist destination hit by dengue fever epidemic
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