Dengue battle shifts to Dededo; more suspected cases being monitored

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As of Wednesday noon, the Dededo Mayor's office has already reached out to more than 40 homes within the Swamp Road area and has started collecting debris, tires, white goods and other trash that may harbor mosquitoes.
  • Public Health has confirmed that a second person with locally acquired dengue infection has been identified, after being seen at the Guam Memorial Hospital emergency room;
  • The first locally-acquired dengue case was confirmed on September 11, in the village of Mangilao. Public Health activated its Arboviral Disease Response Plan following the confirmation;
  • Dengue viruses are spread to people through the bites of infected Aedes species mosquitoes (Ae. aegypti or Ae. albopictus);
  • These mosquitoes typically lay eggs near standing water in containers that hold water (buckets, bowls, animal dishes, flower pots, and vases);
  • These mosquitoes prefer to bite people, and live both indoors and outdoors;
  • Mosquitoes become infected when they bite a person infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites.

The focus of dengue mitigation measures now shift to Dededo after the second case of local dengue was found to have come from the northern village.

During a multi-agency press conference Wednesday afternoon, the Department of Public Health and Social Services confirmed that around 18 homes in the area have been categorized as ‘high-risk’ and that more suspected cases of dengue are being monitored.

Yesterday, Public Health confirmed that the second person with locally acquired dengue infection has been identified, after being seen at the Guam Memorial Hospital emergency room.

The individual is an adult male who resides along Swamp Road.

In an interview with Phill Leon Guerrero at NewsTalk K57, DPHSS Director Linda DeNorcey, said that following the identification of the second infected individual, the agency has started implementing protocols used in the Mangilao case.

“We will pretty much follow and replicate what we have done with the Mangilao case. We will have our team go out again to the home of the infected individual and we are going to have a 200-meter radius around the area where that individual resides. Our environmental health team has been down there already and they are assessing the area. We are going to start off with having our team identify other individuals in the homes who may feel ill and if they have the symptoms that are most likely will be dengue, then they will be tested to confirm those types of cases,” DeNorcey said.

As of Wednesday noon, the Dededo Mayor’s office has already reached out to more than 40 homes within the Swamp Road area and has started collecting debris, tires, white goods, appliances, and other trash that may harbor mosquitoes.

The Joint Information Center also issued a release saying that Public Health’s Epidemiology and Surveillance Team visited a total of 90 homes in both Mangilao and Dededo. In addition to assistance with insecticide application, JIC said residents were provided educational materials to include Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

During a Mayors’ Council meeting, Dededo Mayor Melissa Savares said they expect onsite fumigation to start Thursday. Savares confirmed that a team visited the Swamp Road area to canvass, conduct outreach and cleanup efforts.

“Swamp Road is where the target area is but we did speak with the director of the Department of Public Health and Social Services last night and their decision was to hit the entire Swamp Road area. I did mention to her that at Swamp Road, we have a mixture of residential and agricultural areas,” Savares said.

Outreach activities have intensified in the other villages. Sinajana Mayor Robert Hoffman said he has been disseminating information to his constituents via social media.

“Whatever we receive from Homeland Security and Public Health, we are immediately sending them out to our social media channel, in our neighborhood watch programs, in our community chat rooms, along with some of us with direct contact with our residents,” Hoffman said.

He added: “Many of the mayors have been actively engaged in removing tires, which can hold water as well as doing junk water collection in the past few weeks so. It has been an ongoing effort from us to eliminate any kind of source of standing water. “

Last week, the Governor declared a state of emergency in order for Public Health to respond to the threat of dengue fever. 

The EO authorizes the emergency procurement of supplies and services. Specifically, it authorizes the Governor to use no more than $250,000 from General Fund appropriations for the Executive Branch for expenses resulting from “civil defense, public safety, or healthcare emergencies.” 

Price gouging concerns

With the increase in demand for insect repellent or bug spray, some residents have expressed their concerns about the price increase and dwindling accessibility to the product.

In response to these concerns, Speaker Tina Muna Barnes said she will be coordinating with the Governor’s Office to clarify Guam’s price gouging statutes. She said that laws must give the government the ability to protect the island community from risks presented to it.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Attorney General said price gouging laws cover condition of readiness rather than state of emergencies.

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