CHCC detects one suspected dengue case

DENGUE CONCERN: Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen at the Laboratory of Entomology and Ecology of the Dengue Branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in San Juan, March 6. Reuters

SAIPAN - The Commonwealth Healthcare Center said the Northern Mariana Islands has one suspected dengue case.

The patient is “someone who has recently returned from off island,” CHCC communications and public relations specialist Zoe Travis said. The patient has been seen by a CHCC medical provider, and “the clinical index of suspicion is low for dengue,” she added.

“Testing for dengue has been completed and we are awaiting the results,” Travis said. The patient was also provided with mosquito-bite prevention counseling.

“At this time, CHCC does not believe there is any immediate threat of on-island transmission,” Travis said.

CHCC reminds the public to take precautions against mosquitoes, especially during the rainy season.

According to WebMD, the symptoms of dengue fever may include:

• Sudden, high fever

• Severe headaches

• Pain behind the eyes

• Severe joint and muscle pain

• Fatigue

• Nausea

• Vomiting

• Skin rash, which appears two to five days after the onset of fever

• Mild bleeding (such as nose bleed, bleeding gums, or easy bruising)

Although there are currently no outbreaks of mosquito-borne illnesses in the CNMI, dengue fever outbreaks have been declared in the Philippines, Palau and most recently Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia, CHCC added.

Residents are advised to:

• Empty water from containers around their home and workplace, including tires, toys, buckets, coconuts, soda cans, flower pots, pet bowls; anything that can hold water should be emptied and prevented from filling again in the rain if possible.

• Fill tree holes and other cavities in plants with sand or soil.

• Keep the yard clean and drain puddles

• Clean roof gutters to make sure rain does not accumulate and can drain out properly.

• Cover or screen rain collection barrels

• Fix leaking pipes outside.

• Make sure the windows and doors have well-fitting screens with no gaps or holes; fix any holes in your screens.

• Close doors and windows and use air conditioning if you have it, especially during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

• Use approved mosquito repellants containing SEET, Picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon-eucalyptus, or Para-Methane-Diol or PMD. Do not use these products on children younger than three years old, and always read product instruction labels before use.

• Dress in long sleeves and pants when possible, particularly at dawn and dusk.

• Cover strollers and baby cribs with mosquito netting

For more information, call the Bureau of Environmental Health at 664-4870/72/73 or email BEH Director John Tagabuel at john.tagabuel@dph.gov.mp.