Public Health Concerned About Possible Zika Misinformation


The Department of Public Health wants to ensure that misleading information is not disseminated to the public regarding the zika virus. 

Guam – The Guam Medical Association wants to be a part of the zika and FestPac planning discussion. However, during the FestPac Organizational meeting today, there seemed to be some concern about the information possibly being put out by the Guam Medical Association regarding the zika virus.

“I think the key, Mrs. Ramsey, is can we get somebody like Tom Shieh or Dr Rubio from the [Guam] Medical Society to just have a little bit of patience until we get everybody trained up so we can get the kits. I know that Dr. Shieh is kinda wanting it right away, but you know the kits ain’t here,” said Department of Public Health and Social Services Director James Gillan during a FestPac meeting at Adelup today.

“There has to be proper protocol to make sure that misleading information is not disseminated to the public because it’s just going to create some sense of confusion,” warned Rose Ramsey, FestPac festival director.

“The challenge  right now is to avoid this ‘scare-bola.’ Same thing again, congenital anomaly, microcephaly, which is the thing that the OB champion is being concerned about and if we don’t handle that well it’s gonna be as messy as the ebola thing,” advised Gillan.

Meanwhile, GMA President and Obstetrician/Gynecologist Dr. Tom Shieh says he hopes the government will include GMA in the discussions.

“I wish they would kinda be more inclusive than exclusive because community doctors are the ones that’s gonna be holding the fort because those are the patients that we see, the Guamanian population, that we wanna protect,” said Dr. Shieh.

We also spoke with Dr. Shieh and another OB/GYN, Dr. Chris Bieling, about the effects of the Zika virus on pregnant women.

“It can affect any stage [of pregnancy] but of course the earlier in the pregnancy, the less the baby is already completely formed, the more severe the damage. Actually, if you take that all the way back, the zika virus already causes a lot of miscarriages early on, we just really haven’t had an opportunity to study that,” stated Dr. Bieling.

“The scariest part I can tell you right now is that 8 out of 10 will have no symptoms and I think that’s the scariest part about this particular virus,” said Dr. Shieh.

Dr. Bieling and Dr. Shieh say the Guam Medical Association plans to bring out maternal fetal specialist Dr. Greigh Hirata from Hawaii who will have expert knowledge on how the zika virus can affect unborn babies. But at the FestPac meeting today where Dr. Shieh and Dr. Bieling were not present, Public Health Director James Gillan questioned whether or not the expert would be necessary.

“I would like to know who this specialist is, this expert that he’s bringing in because I don’t know anybody more expert than the folks at CDC,” noted Gillan during the FestPac meeting that Dr. Shieh and Dr. Bieling were not a part of. “But I just don’t know who the expert would be. Maybe some academic?”

“We have Dr. Greigh Hirata from the University of Hawaii and he is a board certified specialist in perinatology and in genetics and he would be the best resource person I can think of to get involved and get his advice,” Dr. Bieling told us prior to the FestPac meeting.

FestPac Festival Director Rose Ramsey emphasized that she would like GMA and community doctors to be a part of the discussion on how to prepare for zika during FestPac.

“We wanna work with them,” she said.