SANTIAGO – The Chilean government said on Friday that the confirmation of four cases of dengue fever on Easter Island should not discourage people from traveling to the popular tourist destination 3,600 kilometers (2,235 miles) from the mainland.
“There is no reason to avoid traveling to Rapa Nui (the indigenous name for the island), as we do not expect to have more cases,” acting Health Minister Jaime Burrows told ADN radio.
He said the dengue cases are under control and ruled out suspending flights to the Pacific island, which receives more than 100,000 tourists a year.
The Chilean government declared a health alert on Easter Island after four homegrown cases of dengue fever were detected.
Easter Island has a population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the carriers of dengue fever and the Zika and Chikungunya viruses.
The form of dengue fever found on Rapa Nui is the milder version of the illness.
Burrows said visitors to Easter Island should take the preventive measures recommended by the Health Ministry, including the use of insect repellants containing at least 30 percent Deet, minimizing skin exposure and using mosquito nets.
Fumigations are routinely conducted on the island to eliminate both the adult mosquito and the larvae, Burrows said.
“There is no risk of dengue in continental Chile since the vector is not there,” he said.