In September, the first case of locally acquired dengue fever in 75 years was confirmed on Guam. By Nov. 13, the Department of Public Health and Social Services had confirmed 20 locally acquired cases.
Fever, abdominal pain, vomiting and body aches are some of the symptoms of dengue. In extreme cases the disease can be fatal.
To contain the spread of the disease, parts of the island, including public school campuses were sprayed with insecticide. This was done to kill and prevent the breeding of mosquitoes that carry dengue and can infect people with the disease.
Two schools in Yigo, F.B. Leon Guerrero Middle and Simon Sanchez High, were sprayed at the end of September after a student at one of them acquired the disease.
Day-care facilities keep kids indoors
Also, to reduce mosquito breeding sites, an area in Dededo known as Swamp Road was cleaned between Sept. 19 and Oct. 1. The Department of Public Works and the Dededo Mayor’s Office collected 731 cubic yards of solid waste, 3,501 tires, 215 metal appliances, and 257 abandoned vehicles.
In October, experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Dengue Branch arrived on Guam and spent 3 weeks here to help the island deal with the outbreak. Among other things, they held public presentations about the disease.
Some day-care facilities kept kids indoors during recess, and clinics reported a rise in children being brought in with symptoms parents feared might be caused by dengue.
Dr. Antonio Garcia, a pediatrician with the MedFirst Clinic in Tamuning, said many parents are “coming in to make sure their children don’t have it.”
Outbreak in Philippines kills 700 people
A month before Guam documented the first case of the disease, the Philippines declared a national dengue epidemic, citing nearly 700 deaths and hundreds of thousands of reported cases, the most in Southeast Asia according to country’s Department of Health.
Also in August, the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands declared a state of health emergency, reporting more than 100 confirmed or probable cases.