Mayor seeks to allay village’s ‘ground zero’ dengue fears

DPHSS wants insecticide use limited only to dengue high-risk areas to prevent mosquitoes from developing resistance against the insecticides.

Ordot-Chalan Pago Mayor Jesse Gogue is working to allay the fears of his constituents that their village is “ground zero” for dengue.

In an interview with the Patti Arroyo show on NewsTalk K57, Gogue assured that his village is not the center of dengue infestation and that the fumigation of Agueda Johnston Middle School was just a “precaution” because the dengue patient was known to have gone there.

The Joint Information Center (JIC) issued a release yesterday stating that it is aware of several unverified social media posts and messages identifying Ordot Chalan Pago as “ground zero.”

According to JIC, no determination has been made as to the origin of the posting and the community is reminded to refrain from sharing unofficial social media posts or messages that are not from the JIC.

Gogue said his office is mobilizing communication within his village to combat the dengue rumors being spread about Ordot-Chalan Pago. He said the village has a WhatsApp system and email network which they are using to combat disinformation and disseminate accurate information.

He added that the Department of Public Health and Social Services has not released the name of the dengue patient for privacy reasons.

Meanwhile, Agueda Johnston Middle School (AIJMS) and Ordot Chalan Pago Elementary School (OCPES) have reopened after being fumigated over the weekend.

Residents within the 200-meter radius of the confirmed case are also being asked to have their homes sprayed to control adult and larval mosquitoes. Outreach efforts were conducted throughout Monday in collaboration with the Mangilao Mayor’s Office and will continue throughout the week.

The insecticides used include Bonide® Mosquito Beater Larvicide, Talstar Professional Insecticide and Demon® Max Insecticide.

The Guam Environmental Protection Agency has reviewed safety data sheets and product labels for the insecticides that were applied by the contractor, and GEPA has found that these insecticides are EPA-registered and EPA-established in accordance with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and the Guam Pesticides Control Act.

Additionally, the contracted vendor is permitted with GEPA as a Certified Pesticide Applicator.

According to GEPA, the precautionary spraying can provide for effective vector control, reduce the production of mosquito larvae and the emergence of breeding and biting mosquitoes, with minimal adverse impacts toward human and environmental health.

Based on the insecticide labels, GEPA said the threat to human health is minimal due to low toxicity.

Dengue fever is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito, and cannot spread directly from person to person. The best preventive measure for residents living in areas infested with mosquitoes is to eliminate areas where mosquitoes lay eggs, which are primarily artificial containers that hold water.

DPHSS continues to work closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other partners to minimize the spread of the dengue virus. All healthcare providers are urged to be on alert for additional cases, and a physicians’ alert has been disseminated.