Pip dies of dengue fever


The family of a Queenstowner, who’s died in Mexico after contracting dengue fever, say they’re devastated.

Philippa Greig, 37, known as Pip, had been house-sitting for a friend in a little village called Yelapa when she was bitten by a mosquito.

Speaking from Mexico yesterday, her dad Rob Greig says he suspects she didn’t realise she had dengue fever.

When, four or five days later, neighbours saw she wasn’t herself and was getting weaker, they took her to the base hospital in the coastal resort of Puerto Vallarta, 40 minutes away by boat, last Saturday.

Rob says she arrived in a distressed and dehydrated state but, despite receiving 40 minutes of CPR, she couldn’t be brought around.

“There are two types of dengue fever, and she got the worst one.”

He says her death came as a real surprise to people in the village she’d been staying in – “they’re now calling for officials to spray the whole village”.

He and and his wife Roz had been holidaying in Sweden when they learned Pip, a former champion skier, was sick and had been taken to hospital.

Rob says when they got on the phone to a doctor, “he talked us through it and then he apologised”.

“We said, ‘what are you apologising for?

“‘I’m apologising because she didn’t make it.’

“That’s when the news struck and we suddenly realised she wasn’t with us any more.”

Rob says he and Roz had planned to meet Pip in another part of Mexico in about 10 days’ time.

“Since this has happened, we’ve had such an outpouring of love and respect from so many friends.

“Literally hundreds of people have come through to us … she means so much to so many people.”

Rob and Roz, who were also being joined in Mexico by their son Andrew, say they’d had “extremely good cooperation” from hospital staff, funeral directors and New Zealand embassy staff.

Rob was hoping they’d be able to fly home in three to five days’ time, once arrangements are in place – “and then we’ll have a farewell to her in Queenstown”.

“It’s very, very tough, and it’s not the way you want to bring your child back home, that’s for sure.”

Her parents owned Pinewood Village, one of Queenstown’s longest established accommodation businesses, while Aspen-based sister Mitchey, is a former Winter Olympics skier.