DPHSS unable to analyze tests for dengue

Dr. Ann Pobutsky, Guam's Territorial Epidemiologist. (PNC file photo)
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Due to an electrical fire shutting down the Department of Public Health and Social Services’ central facility in Mangilao, the Guam Public Health Laboratory is unable to analyze conducted tests for dengue fever.

However, according to territorial epidemiologist Dr. Ann Pobutsky, tests can be administered locally but they have to be analyzed off-island.

She said Public Health does not have data on any cases reflecting the last week and a half.

To date, there have been 13 locally contracted cases and 7 imported cases of dengue.

“We haven’t had any new cases. Even though we don’t know what’s gone on in the last week and a half, I usually get the alert and I get calls from the hospitals and the clinics if they have suspect cases. We haven’t gotten any recently,” Pobutsky said.

Today marks 22 days since the last confirmed locally acquired case. A total of 40 days would have to pass until the outbreak is declared over.

Pobutsky says that the last few cases happened sporadically, a sign that the presence of the disease is waning, which can be attributed to the cooler weather and the department’s extensive response effort.

However, she still encourages the public to practice preventative measures to mitigate the spread of the disease such as applying repellent or removing mosquito breeding sites.

“Guam does not have endemic dengue fever at this time. But we could still have sporadic cases or imported cases. We’ll probably see some more, but I don’t think it’s an outbreak anymore,” Pobutsky said.

Mosquito nets and repellents are now available. If you are interested, call the Division of Environmental Health at 300-9570.