New strain of dengue fever emerges in Queensland, Australia and deaths are likely now, it is feared.
Queensland Health says the dengue outbreak in Cairns will reach 400 in coming days with five to 10 new cases a day, but complicating matters is the emergence of dengue type two in Cairns.
There are now three strains of the mosquito-borne virus circulating in the north, with Cairns recording 337 cases of type two and three, and Townsville recording 55 cases of dengue type three and one.
Health experts sent a mosquito control team to Thursday Island this week because it was common for people to travel to and from the island to Cairns or Townsville and vice versa.
The last recorded Queensland fatality from dengue fever was a 40-year-old woman from Thursday Island in February 2004.
It was the first Queensland death from dengue in about 100 years, Petrina Berry reported for Melbourne Herlad Sun.
Queensland Health tropical health medical director Jeffrey Hanna said there were fears the virus could spread to Thursday Island, but more concerning was the risk multiple cases posed.
Dr Hanna said people who have had dengue were at risk of serious illnesses, even death, if they contracted another strain of the virus.
"The bigger the pool of people who are susceptible to second rounds of dengue, it's inevitable we are going to have very sick people from time to time," Dr Hanna said.
"Unfortunately, as we've seen a few years ago in the Torres Strait, there will be deaths."
The new strain is believed to have come from Papua New Guinea.