Outbreaks of dengue in north Queensland, 1990–2008

This short report summarises the (recognised) outbreaks of dengue that have occurred in north Queensland from 1990 to 2008.

Page last updated: 15 May 2009

A print friendly PDF version is available from this Communicable Diseases Intelligence issue's table of contents.

Jeffrey N Hanna, Scott A Ritchie

The (recognised) outbreaks of dengue that have occurred in north Queensland from 1990 to 2008 (inclusive) are summarised in the following Table.

Reported cases
Suburbs / islands predominantly affected
Duration of outbreak Serotype
1990–91 Cairns, Townsville, Torres Strait
8 weeks
Dengue 1
1992–931,2 Townsville, Charters Towers
64 weeks
Dengue 2
19953 Cairns
14 weeks
Dengue 2
1996–974 Torres Strait, Cairns
Mer, Erub, Masig, Iama, Thursday Island, Westcourt
28 weeks
Dengue 2
1997–98 Cairns
11 weeks
Dengue 2
1997–995 Cairns, Mossman, Port Douglas
Cairns North, Parramatta Park, Stratford, Machans Beach, Holloways Beach, Bungalow
70 weeks
Dengue 3
20006 Cairns
Machans Beach
6 weeks
Dengue 2
20017 Townsville
Mysterton, North Ward
3 weeks
Dengue 2
20028 Kuranda
10 weeks
Dengue 2
20028 Townsville
Railway Estate
2 weeks
Dengue 1
20028 Cairns
3 weeks
Dengue 4
2003 Cairns
Parramatta Park
2 weeks
Dengue 1
20039 Mareeba
1 week
Dengue 1
200310 Cairns
3 weeks
Dengue 2
2003–0410 Cairns, Townsville, (Torres Strait)
Parramatta Park, Bungalow, Stratford, Aeroglen, Edge Hill, Whitfield, Townsville CBD, Cranbrook, Currajong, North Ward, Thursday Island
69 weeks
Dengue 2
2003–0410,11 Torres Strait, Cairns
Iama, Thursday Island, Mer
41 weeks
Dengue 2
2004 Torres Strait
1 week
Dengue 2
2005 Torres Strait
Mer, Thursday Island, Erub
7 weeks
Dengue 4
2005 Townsville
22 weeks
Dengue 4
2005–06 Townsville
6 weeks
Dengue 3
2006 Cairns
Gordonvale, Manunda 18 weeks Dengue 2
2007 Townsville
South Townsville, West End 12 weeks Dengue 3
2008 Port Douglas/ Mossman
  10 weeks Dengue 3
2008 Cairns
Manoora? 1 week Dengue 2
2008 Cairns, Townsville
99 (with onset in 2008)
Cairns North, Clifton Beach, Whitfield, Parramatta Park, Edge Hill, Belgian Gardens (with more suburbs in 2009) 8 weeks in 2008 – ongoing into 2009 Dengue 3
2008 Townsville
5 (with onset in 2008)
North Ward, City 2 weeks in 2008 – ongoing into 2009 Dengue 1

It is obvious that outbreaks of dengue have become more frequent in north Queensland in recent years. This is a reflection upon the deteriorating dengue situation in the Asia–Pacific region and elsewhere,12 as every outbreak in north Queensland is initiated by a viraemic traveller to the region.

However, increased surveillance for dengue in north Queensland and the use of very powerful molecular techniques that are able to discern significant differences between isolates of dengue viruses belonging to the same serotype10 have also contributed to this increase, particularly in more recent years. It is quite possible that some small outbreaks, or outbreaks caused by (unrecognised) differing genotypes of the same serotypes of dengue viruses, were not detected, and therefore the Table may under-enumerate the actual number of outbreaks that occurred in north Queensland over the 18 years.

A detailed review of the recognised outbreaks that occurred in 2005–2008 (inclusive) is in preparation.

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Author details

Jeffrey N Hanna, Public Health Physician

Scott A Ritchie, Medical Entomologist

Tropical Population Health Services, Queensland Health, Cairns, Queensland

Correspondence: Dr J Hanna, Tropical Population Health Services, PO Box 1103, CAIRNS QLD 4870. Telephone: +61 7 4050 3604. Facsimile: +61 7 4031 1440. Email: Jeffrey_hanna AT health.qld.gov.au

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10. Hanna JN, Ritchie SA, Richards AR, Taylor CT, Pyke AT, Montgomery BL, et al. Multiple outbreaks of dengue serotype 2 in north Queensland, 2003/04. Aust N Z J Public Health 2006;30:220–225.

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This issue - Vol 33 No 1, March 2009