CHCC: 2nd imported dengue fever case identified

IMPORTED CASE CONFIRMED: A female Aedes aegypti mosquito is shown in this U.S. Centers for Disease Control photograph released to Reuters on Oct. 30, 2013. Health officials in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas have confirmed a second case of dengue in Saipan. They believe both cases are imported. Reuters

A second case of dengue fever has been confirmed on Saipan. 

Both cases are imported. In this most recent case the patient, who is expected to make a full recovery, had recently returned from a trip to Palau where the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. believes the patient contracted the infection, according to a CHCC press release. 

As of press time, there is still no evidence that on-island transmission of dengue has occurred and CHCC believes the chance of an outbreak remains low, the release states. 

"You can help prevent the spread of dengue," officials stated. "Dengue fever is caused by the dengue virus, and is passed from person to person only by mosquito bites. You cannot get dengue from another person by touching, coughing, or other close contact. When a mosquito bites a person infected with dengue, they suck some of the infected blood into their system. They carry that little bit of blood with them and, when they bite a healthy person, some of the infected blood is transferred to the healthy person. This is how people become infected."

Only 1 in 4 people infected with dengue will become sick, and it is usually a mild illness that does not require hospitalization.

Symptoms of dengue fever include:

• Sudden, high fever

• Severe headaches and pain behind the eyes

• Severe joint and muscle pain

• Fatigue

• Nausea and vomiting; and

• A skin rash that appears 2-5 days after the onset of the fever

Health officials said anyone experiencing these symptoms, particularly if there was recent travel to a country or island with a dengue fever outbreak, "see your doctor right away." 

"If you are going to be traveling to a country that currently has a dengue outbreak, such as the Philippines, Palau, Yap, and the Marshall Islands, take special care to avoid being bitten by any mosquitoes on your trip and for two weeks after you return to the CNMI," officials stated in the release. The best and most important dengue prevention strategy is to “Fight the Bite,” the release added.

Officials provided the following safety tips to protect against mosquito bites and the risk of infection: 

• Use insect repellent. Make sure to read product instructions, as many repellents are not safe to use on young children.

• Cover up! Wear long sleeves and pants when possible, and cover cribs and strollers with mosquito netting.

• Put screens on windows and doors, and make sure screens do not have any holes.

• Mosquitoes bite during the day, but are most active at sunrise and sunset. Close your doors and windows during these times and use air conditioning if possible.

• Avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and get rid of mosquito populations around your home.

• Mosquitoes breed in standing water. The best way to ensure that there are less mosquitoes around your home is to empty out all buckets, toys, tires, or anything else that holds water, especially after it rains.