As the rainy season returns with a rush of flood advisories, health officials are urging residents to use the current COVID-19 lockdown to clear their homes and businesses of mosquito breeding sites.
"Mosquitoes need a source of water to complete their life cycle, and with the arrival of Guam's rainy season, it is strongly recommended that we all do our part to stop that cycle," Department of Public Health and Social Services officials stated in a release. "Mosquitoes can spread diseases, such as dengue fever, chikungunya, and Zika."
In September 2019, Guam's first locally acquired case of dengue in 75 years was confirmed. And while the governor declared Guam dengue-free in February, there were additional cases reported in March.
The dengue outbreak closed schools as the Guam Department of Education worked with DPHSS and Guam Environmental Protection Agency to protect students and school staff from mosquito bites and potential dengue infection.
On Saturday, the DPHSS Division of Environmental Health said parents can take advantage of the governor's stay-at-home orders to teach young children how to identify and remove conditions that allow mosquitoes to lay their eggs, and also educate them about mosquito-bite prevention.
To help parents, DEH created a story book using the division's mosquito-mascot, Miss Skeeta, that can be downloaded and shared. The book includes educational activities and can be accessed at https://bit.ly/3h4JBFY
Preventing the spread of all mosquito-borne diseases can include:
• Drain: Empty out water containers at least once per week
• Dress: Wear long sleeves, long pants, and light-colored, loose-fitting clothing
• Defend: Properly apply an EPA-registered and approved repellent such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon-eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol
• Dusk and dawn: If possible, consider staying indoors early in the morning and evening when mosquitoes are most active.
Officials urged residents to eliminate any source of standing water around their homes and businesses, including removing containers that can hold water, or replacing water frequently.