UN mission in East Timor responds to dengue outbreak

The United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) is preparing a campaign to raise awareness among the population of the tropical viral disease, dengue, which may have killed an international UNTAET worker last week in Dili.
According to UNTAET medical services, there have been approximately 230 cases of fever illnesses among civilians, Timorese staff, international civilian police and UN military observers over the last three months in Dili alone. Of these, 30 were suspected to be dengue fever and 60 malaria.

Last Friday, a Ghanaian member of UNTAET's civilian police force died of suspected dengue fever. The results of the autopsy have not yet been released.

To spread community awareness about the virus, UNTAET has teamed up with non-governmental organizations and Timorese partners, in particular the Catholic Church. A leaflet about the transmission and prevention of dengue fever will be distributed in Dili this week, and throughout the territory in the near future.

The UN mission is also meeting with Radio Voz Esperanza, a Timorese radio station, to discuss public service messages about the disease.

In other news, the UN mission is preparing for the arrival on Tuesday of President Abdurrahman Wahid of Indonesia, who will spend about three hours in Dili.

Today, the administrative arrangements were finalized for the takeover by UNTAET of the security responsibilities of the International Force in East Timor (INTERFET), which had been led by Australia. INTERFET pulled out of East Timor last Wednesday.