GDOE plans more dengue informational meetings

GDOE held an informational briefing on dengue to inform residents about the latest mitigation efforts. The dengue village presentations start tonight at Liguan Elementary School in Dededo.

The Guam Department of Education’s dengue informational meeting held last night at Harvest Christian Academy was so productive that GDOE is planning to hold three more in the northern and the southern parts of the island.

GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez, in an interview with Phill Leon Guerrero on NewsTalk K57, said there were about 40 people in last night’s meeting who wanted more face to face meetings with dengue experts and people who have more information on mitigation efforts.

Fernandez said most of the people wanted to find out the “science” of dengue and information on how to prevent it.

The residents who attended last night’s meeting have been asked to spread what they learned to other people.

Fernandez also said that aside from the two students announced earlier, he’s not aware of any other students who were stricken by dengue.

He added that there’s no definitive information yet on whether the two students stricken by dengue contracted the disease locally or off-island.

“But we’re mitigating the schools they go to just to make sure,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez also announced that it is “relaxing” its uniform policy to allow students to wear more protective clothes against dengue.

In a letter to parents, guardians, and GDOE staff members, Fernandez said students in the island’s public schools can temporarily wear long-sleeve shirts, jackets, and long pants until further notice.

“As we work through the recent dengue cases, school administrators have been asked to relax the uniform policy and to allow for long-sleeve shirts or jackets and long pants for the next few weeks,” the superintendent stated.

In the same letter, Fernandez encouraged GDOE faculty and staff to eliminate mosquito breeding sites, which are primarily artificial containers that hold water where mosquitoes lay eggs.

“Any items that hold stagnant water around homes and classrooms should be emptied to reduce mosquito breeding sites. Wearing light-colored, long-sleeved clothing and using mosquito repellent can reduce your chances of being bitten by mosquitoes,” the superintendent said.

Fernandez also advised GDOE faculty and staff to be on the lookout for dengue fever. Symptoms of dengue include fever, nausea/vomiting, rash, aches and pains such as headaches, muscle aches.

The Superintendent said the risk of developing severe dengue can be reduced by encouraging ill patients to drink lots of fluids (water, sports drinks, coconut, etc.) and avoiding the use of aspirin, Motrin, or ibuprofen.