Coronavirus, monkeypox, and now Dengue Fever

The following is news from the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services:

On Friday morning, September 9, 2022, the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) received confirmation of a blood specimen from a patient that tested positive for the dengue virus.  The DPHSS Territorial Epidemiologist reports that it is most likely an imported case.  Nonetheless, this new case demonstrates how important it is for the people of Guam to maintain efforts to reduce mosquitoes and avoid mosquito bites.

As a reminder, the dengue virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito and cannot spread directly from person-to-person.  Anyone who lives in, or travels to, an area where the dengue virus is found can get infected from mosquito bites.  The community is advised to avoid mosquito bites and eliminate mosquito breeding sites to help stop the spread of the dengue virus.

Dengue Facts 

  • A person infected with the dengue virus will usually have a fever for 2-7 days.  A person is infectious during this feverish period.
  • A mosquito that bites a feverish person who has dengue can also become infected with the dengue virus.  When that infected mosquito bites someone else, it can transmit the dengue virus to that person.
  • To help stop the spread of the disease, an infected person should remain indoors and avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Thus, the duration of time an infected person has a fever, that person should not go to school or work.

See your healthcare provider if you experience any of the following symptoms of dengue fever:

  • Fever;
  • Aches and pains;
  • Rash; and
  • Mild bleeding usually around the nose or gums.

A person with a severe form of dengue fever, called Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, will have the following symptoms and needs to visit the nearest hospital emergency room immediately:

  • Severe abdominal pain;
  • Persistent vomiting;
  • Significant bleeding; and
  • Lethargy or restlessness.

To diagnose dengue, a healthcare provider may order blood tests.  A blood test is the only way to confirm the diagnosis.

Help Stop the Spread of Dengue Virus 

Take precautions to prevent mosquito bites by applying insect repellant and wearing light-colored long-sleeved shirts and pants.  The mosquito that carries the dengue virus favors smaller areas of water as found in artificial containers.  Eliminating these areas can help stop the spread of the dengue virus.  Thus, empty or discard items that can collect water.

DPHSS Efforts in Pesticide Spraying  

On Friday afternoon and Saturday, September 9-10, 2022, the Division of Environmental Health (DEH) of this Department canvassed homes in the area of concern in Barrigada, notifying residents and seeking consent to conduct pesticide spraying to target adult mosquitoes in the area.  The staff of DEH applied EPA-approved pesticides at four high-risk target areas that provided written consent for spraying.  DEH staff will continue to apply pesticides as they receive consent in the coming days.

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