School starts in Far North with a warning for parents to be dengue aware
YEAR 5 student Kell Gorton Strauss has survived one bout of dengue fever and it's not something his family is willing to risk again.
As children return to school today, health authorities are warning families to follow the lead of Kell's parents and make sure they apply mosquito repellent every morning.
"The mosquitoes are active by day so there's just as much chance of catching it at school as anywhere else,'' Kell's father Jonathan Strauss said.
"Put repellent on the children, and if you can, send them to school with roll-on repellent."
Kell was five when he spent three nights in hospital during the 2009 dengue outbreak.
"I was vomiting and I was very dehydrated and it was really bad to have dengue," the Edge Hill State School student said, adding that he now takes extra precautions such as applying mosquito spray daily.
Thirty-seven cases of dengue fever have been confirmed in the current outbreaks, which have affected the suburbs of Whitfield, Parramatta Park, Manoora, Edge Hill, Mt Sheridan and Woree.
Schools in those high-risk areas have been swept by the Dengue Action Response Team during the past week to remove potential mosquito breeding sites, but authorities say parents should be vigilant.
Cairns public health physician Dr Richard Gair said "We recommend using an insect repellent with 4.75 per cent to 30 per cent DEET or picaridin and parents should follow the directions on the label."
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Playing safe: Jonathan Strauss applies insect repellent to his son, Kell, before school. Kell knows the agony of dengue fever after contracting the disease in 2009. Picture: BRENDAN FRANCIS