Additional suspected dengue cases reported

Department of Public Health and Social Services (PNC file photo)

Additional suspect dengue cases have been detected and reported to the Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS).

At this time they are under investigation and pending confirmatory testing, DPHSS stated.

“Although aggressive mosquito control efforts are ongoing, DPHSS anticipates the identification of other suspected and confirmed cases,” said Linda Unpingco-Denorcey, DPHSS Director. “We remind the community to assist with preventative measures at home and to protect themselves when they go outside. A community-wide response is needed in order to minimize the spread of the dengue virus.”

With only two local dengue cases of dengue so far, DPHSS is working with other governmental agencies to spread awareness and prevent the increase of dengue infection on the island.

In order to make sure that the public is informed about how to prevent the contraction and control the spread of dengue fever, the Department of Public Health and Social Services has been in correspondence with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to request for aid in the form of an entomologist, mosquito testing, and supplies.

With residents facing an islandwide shortage of crucial deterrents such as insect repellents, DeNorcey says that she has asked the CDC to ship such supplies to the island.

However, she says that aerosol repellents cannot be mailed to Guam and is asking local businesses for assistance.

“We’re going to reach out to the Guam Chamber of Commerce to see if we can get the private businesses to help us out to get more supplies to come in,” DeNorcey said.

She also says that the number of households located in both of the high-risk areas have increased, with the number in Mangilao initially at 82 rising to 90 residences. The initial count for Swamp Road assessed 18 homes, however, that number has since risen to 40.

The reason for the increase, DeNorcey says, is because there were a number of extended and substandard homes in the high-risk areas identified.

In order to help those living in substandard housing where residents may not have screen doors, DeNorcey says she has requested the CDC to supply Public Health with a thousand mosquito nets to keep the insects from entering residences.

Translators will also be working with Public Health to ensure that their outreach efforts are efficiently relayed to the residents present within the high-risk areas.

According to Krystal Paco, the governor’s spokesperson, in an interview with Newstalk K57, the presence of the dengue disease should dissipate if no more cases are confirmed after the coming weeks.

“So far, nothing has come back unusual. So fingers crossed that we can keep this state for the next six weeks, according to our CDC medical epidemiologist Dr. Thane Hancock who’s been with us since Day One. He says that the coast may be clear around six weeks with a confirmed locally acquired case, we may be in the clear,” Paco said.