Date: Sat 5 Sep 2015
Source: TNTV (Tahiti Nui Television) [edited]

Since the beginning of the year [2015], 4 people, including 3 babies younger than 3-month-old, have contracted pertussis in French Polynesia. All 4 patients were admitted to the Taaone hospital. 2 are from Bora Bora and 2 from Moorea. According to the health authorities, an active search for secondary cases was carried out for each of them and an antibiotic chemoprophylaxis was offered to the people who had been in contact with the 4 patients.

Pertussis is a highly contagious infectious disease. Pertussis is caused by the bacterium _Bordetella_. It is an airborne disease. Symptoms include runny nose, fever, and cough.
[For a discussion of pertussis, see moderator comments in prior ProMED-mail posts.

French Polynesia is an overseas collectivity of the French Republic. It is composed of 118 dispersed islands and atolls, 67 of which are inhabited, stretching over an expanse of more than 2000 kilometres (1200 mi) in the South Pacific Ocean. It is divided into 5 groups of islands: The Society Islands archipelago composed of the Windward Islands and the Leeward Islands, the Tuamotu Archipelago, the Gambier Islands, the Marquesas Islands, and the Austral Islands (<>). Tahiti, which is located within the Society Islands, is the most populous island and the seat of the capital of the collectivity, Pape'ete, with a population of 133 627 inhabitants in 2012 (<>).

Taaone Hospital is in Pirae, a commune in the suburbs of Papeete (<>). Bora Bora is an island in the Leeward group and Moorea is one of the Windward Islands, both parts of the Society Islands, (<> and <>).

A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map showing the location of the islands in French Polynesia can be accessed at
<>. - ProMED Mod.ML]
Date: February 2015
Source: Emerging Infectious Diseases 21 (2) [summ., edited]

Musso D, Roche C, Robin E, Nhan T, Teissier A, Cao-Lormeau VM. Potential sexual transmission of Zika virus.

In December 2013, during a Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak in French Polynesia, a patient in Tahiti sought treatment for haematospermia, and ZIKV was isolated from his semen. ZIKV transmission by sexual intercourse has been previously suspected. This observation supports the possibility that ZIKV could be transmitted sexually.

The largest known ZIKV outbreak reported started in October 2013 in French Polynesia, South Pacific, a territory of France comprising 67 inhabited islands; an estimated 28,000 persons (11 per cent of the population) sought medical care for the illness. The most common symptoms of Zika fever are rash, fever, arthralgia, and conjunctivitis. Most of the patients had mild disease, but severe neurologic complications have been described in other patients in French Polynesia.

We detected a high ZIKV RNA load and replicative ZIKV in semen samples, but ZIKV remained undetectable by rRT-PCR in the blood sample collected at the same time. These results suggest that viral replication may have occurred in the genital tract, but we do not know when this replication started and how long it lasted. The fact that the patient had no common symptoms of ZIKV acute infection concomitantly to haematospermia suggests that the viraemic phase occurred upstream, probably during the 1st or 2nd episode of mild fever, headache, and arthralgia.

Our findings support the hypothesis that ZIKV can be transmitted by sexual intercourse. Furthermore, the observation that ZIKV RNA was detectable in urine after viraemia clearance in blood suggests that, as found for DENV and WNV infections, urine samples can yield evidence of ZIKV for late diagnosis, but more investigation is needed.
Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2015 09:58:26 +0200 (METDST)

Hagatna, Guam, March 31, 2015 (AFP) - Meteorologists warned Tuesday that a storm reported to have left several casualties and severe damage in Micronesia was building into a super-typhoon as it swept across the central Pacific towards the Yap group of islands.   The island of Chuuk, part of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), received a direct hit late on Sunday from Typhoon Maysak and the Yap group was next in its path.   "Chuuk was devastated," lawyer Kembo Mida said in an email to the Ayuda Foundation relief organisation which is based in Guam about 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) away.   "Houses were blown away and trees snapped in half. It was very dangerous and scary... a ship sank too."   The Pacific News Center in Guam said FSM public information officer Marz Akapito "is reporting that five people have died in Chuuk state due to typhoon Maysak".   The consul-general for FSM based in Guam, Robert Ruecho, told AFP he had heard various casualty counts of one and later five, but "cannot confirm anything right now".   Maysak was expected to have intensified to a maximum category five storm by the time it hit Yap early Wednesday.

Neville Koop, a meteorologist with Fiji's Na Draki weather service, said at its peak it would have winds of 270 kilometres per hour (168 miles per hour) with gusts up to 340kph.   "This typhoon will be very destructive," Koop told AFP. "At its peak Typhoon Maysak will be as strong as Cyclone Pam."   Severe Tropical Cyclone Pam slammed into Vanuatu over two weeks ago, causing widespread damage and leaving 11 people dead in the South Pacific nation.   The director of the FSM National Emergency Management Office, Andrew Yatilman, told Radio New Zealand that Typhoon Maysak scored a direct hit on the most populated area of Chuuk, which is home to nearly 50,000 people.   "Residences (had) their roofs completely torn off, and so whoever was staying in those will have to be accommodated either by relatives or in public shelters that have been set up by the government," he said.   "Most people are all right, we understand that there may have been a few casualties; between four and five that we know so far."

Ruecho, the consul-general, told the Marianas Variety newspaper in Guam he had not been able to make contact with people in Chuuk.   "I haven't been able to speak with the governor," Ruecho said. "The phone lines have been difficult today, power is down and so my information is second hand from the (FSM) capital in Pohnpei.   "Lots of flooding and many of the roofs... we heard they were torn off many of the residences and buildings -- maybe 80 to 90 percent of homes."   In 2002 heavy rain from Tropical Storm Chataan triggered several landslides that killed 47 people in Chuuk's deadliest weather disaster.   The Philippine state weather forecaster said it was too early to say if the latest typhoon would affect the country, but it would reassess the situation when the storm entered its area of responsibility on Wednesday or Thursday.   The Philippines is still recovering from Super Typhoon Haiyan which struck in November 2013, leaving more than 7,350 people dead or missing.
Date: Fri 16 Jan 2015
Source: La Depeche de Tahiti [in French, trans. ProMED CopyEd.LMI, edited]

The authorities are calling for vigilance regarding leptospirosis, as the risk of an outbreak is significant because of the rainy season. 6 cases have been reported since early January [2015]. 2 teenagers are currently hospitalized at Taaone [Tahiti].

Last year [2014], leptospirosis killed 2 and affected 129 people (read our article in La Depeche de Tahiti, Saturday 17th of January [2014?]).
[Leptospirosis is a zoonotic bacterial infection that is distributed widely throughout the world in warm climates and is transmitted to humans by direct contact of abraded skin or mucous membranes with the urine of infected animals or by contact with wet soil, vegetation, or water that has been contaminated with infected animal urine. _Leptospira_ bacteria shed in urine may survive in fresh water or moist soil for weeks to months. Many species of wild and domestic animals (including dogs, cattle, swine, and especially rats) are susceptible to chronic kidney infection with pathogenic _Leptospira_. Different leptospiral serovars are prevalent in particular geographical regions. Inadequate disposal of trash and debris provides a suitable habitat for rat infestation in urban settings. Outbreaks of leptospirosis frequently follow heavy rainfall, flooding with fresh water, and increasing rodent numbers.

Tahiti, which is located within the Society Islands in the South Pacific Ocean, is the largest and most populous (population 183,645 inhabitants in 2012) island of French Polynesia, where its capital, Papeete, is located (<>). Tahiti is the economic, cultural, and political center of French Polynesia. The urban area of Papeete had a total population of 133,627 inhabitants in 2012 (<>).

Tahiti is referred to as a "high island", that is, an island of volcanic origin with high mountains, valleys, and rivers

November to April is the wet season, the wettest month of which is January with 13.2 in (340 mm) of rain in Papeete

Heavy rains in January in Tahiti have caused flooding
(<>). - ProMED Mod.ML]

[A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at:
Date: Fri 19 Dec 2014
Source: Radio New Zealand [edited]

In French Polynesia, 9 people are now reported to have died from chikungunya in an outbreak which is estimated to have affected about 40,000 people.

The World Health Organisation says the epidemic has hit several countries and is being described as explosive in its development.

Samoan health authorities say there have been 3135 cases since the end of July [2014] and New Caledonia has 30 confirmed cases with 2 hospitalisations and no deaths.

The WHO says the chikungunya outbreak is also still ongoing in American Samoa and Tokelau.

Tonga's Director of Health says an outbreak of chikungunya in April [2014] that infected about 10 000 people throughout Tonga started in Ha'apai after assistance arrived for victims of Cyclone Ian [January 2014]. He believes the virus was brought there by foreign visitors.
[Terming this outbreak as explosive is not an exaggeration. The 14 Dec 2014 ProMED-mail post (archive no 20141215.3033248) indicated that there was an estimated 35 000 cases in French Polynesia, and now, a week later, the case number has increased to an estimated 40,000. Similar increases have occurred on the other affected islands mentioned above. In the absence of an available vaccine, avoidance of mosquito bites and aggressive mosquito vector control are the only measures available to reduce transmission of the virus.

A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map showing the location of the islands in French Polynesia can be accessed at <>; maps showing the location of American Samoa and Samoa can be accessed at <> and <>; maps of Tokelau, a New Zealand territory, can be accessed at <> and <>. - ProMED Mod.TY]
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