Guam – Following the confirmation of an imported case of dengue fever on Guam, the Department of Public Health and Social Services inspected around 28 homes that were within the vicinity of the residence of the infected individual. The department also educated residents to take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the mosquito-borne disease.
DPHSS director Linda DeNorcey said public health confirmed that the imported case of dengue fever on Guam may have contracted the disease while traveling to Palau or the Philippines.
“There is an outbreak right now in the Philippines and there is an outbreak now in Palau. So when the individual arrived on Guam they were already infected. What we did was confirmed that it is positive,” DeNorcey said.
She added, “We made certain that our inspectors were there to educate all of the homeowners to make certain that their areas are well kept so there are no breeding grounds for these mosquitoes. We also informed them that if they are traveling to these places, to be more diligent and take precautionary measures against mosquito bites.”
The Republic of Palau reported around 150 cases, while the Philippines had more than 56,000 cases and 227 deaths, according to DPHSS.
Despite a confirmed imported case of dengue fever on Guam and an outbreak in Palau and the Philippines, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands health authorities said there have been no reports of dengue in the commonwealth so far.
Basic Information About Dengue
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease caused by any of one of four closely related viruses, which are transmitted to humans through an infected bite. The Aedes aegyti mosquito is the primary vector or transmitter of the disease. Fortunately, according to DPHSS, this type of mosquito is not found on Guam.
However, another dengue carrier, Asian tiger mosquito or Aedes albopictus, exist on Guam. With this in mind, public health cautions the public to be vigilant in preventing the transmission of the disease and eliminating mosquito breeding sites.
There is no vaccine for dengue fever. So DPHSS cautions those who are traveling to the Philippines and Palau to take precautions and prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes.
DPHSS listed the following dengue fever symptoms:
- High fever;
- Severe headache;
- Severe pain behind the eyes;
- Joint pain;
- Muscle and bone pain;
- Rash, and;
- Mild bleeding usually around the nose or gums.
DPHSS also listed several preventive measures:
- Properly cover or discard and dispose all containers that collect water;
- Flush birdbaths and wading pools weekly;
- Flush ornamental bromeliads with water or treat with BTI, a biological agent used for controlling mosquitoes.