Marshall Islands extends state of emergency; dengue-like cases pass 1000 mark

The donations were brought in by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). Photo Credit: Embassy of Japan in the Marshall Islands
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The Marshall Islands government has extended its state of health emergency for 31 days following an increase in dengue case counts in the outer islands.

According to a Nov. 17, 2019 case report, 1,165 dengue-like illness have been detected in the Marshall Islands.

Out of that number, 393 have been confirmed as dengue through laboratory testing. So far, one death has been reported and one severe dengue patient evacuated out-of-country for further medical assistance.

The Marshall Islands government said it has been working tirelessly to control the dengue fever outbreak following the extension of the state of health emergency in early November.

The extension was declared after dengue fever case counts increased in the RMI, with new cases reported in the outer atolls of Utrok and Aur.

All government ministries, departments, and agencies have worked together in unison and planned and coordinated their efforts through the National Disaster Committee to ensure timely execution of the relief efforts, in a combined effort to effectively mitigate the hardship and suffering upon the affected communities.

The outer islands and atolls health centers are limited and do not have sufficient infrastructure compared to the urban hospitals of Majuro and Ebeye. So it is a priority to reduce the spread of dengue virus to other islands, according to the government.

The government has implemented a domestic travel advisory to mitigate the negative impacts of spreading the dengue virus to the outer islands. Travel restrictions for Ebeye and Majuro outer atolls were put in place in Aug. 23, 2019.

International response

The Government of Japan responded to the state of emergency by donating mosquito repellents and mosquito nets. A handover ceremony of donated items was held at the Amata Kabua International Airport in Majuro.

The donations were brought in by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF).

The ceremony was attended by Japan Ambassador Norio Saito, Acting Chief Secretary Kino Kabua, Secretary of Health and Human Services Jack Niedenthal, UCC President Reverend Palukne Johnny, Government officials, Japan Embassy officials, and representatives from JASDF.

Remarks were delivered by Secretary of Health and Human Services Jack Niedenthal and Japan Ambassador Norio Saito. In his remarks, Niedenthal conveyed his appreciation to the people and Government of Japan for their kind donations.

He shared the current report of the dengue fever outbreak and announced that there were new cases reported in the outer islands (Utrok and Aur).

He said that timely contributions and assistance will benefit many individuals.