Public Health teams to distribute mosquito repellent

BREEDING GROUNDS: Stagnant water, such as the water trapped inside an old tire seen in this photo taken recently on Guam, can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes that could carry dengue fever. Post file photo

For the next two weeks, the Department of Public Health and Social Services and its partners will be distributing mosquito repellent spray bottles throughout local villages in a continued effort to reduce residents' exposure to mosquitoes - particularly those that carry the dengue virus.

Guam had its first locally acquired case of dengue fever in 75 years in 2019. The last announcement of a resident infected with the dengue virus was made in November - as of that announcement Guam's total number of cases is at 20 - 13 locally acquired and seven imported when Guamanians were infected while off island.  Fever, abdominal pain, vomiting and body aches are some of the symptoms of dengue. In extreme cases the disease can be fatal.

Since the first resident, reportedly living in Mangilao, was confirmed to have a locally acquired case of dengue, Public Health and the Mayors' Council of Guam had been working together to speak with residents and clear areas where the local cases were confirmed. 

Mayors' Council of Guam President and Dededo Mayor Melissa Savares said distribution will begin on Jan. 15 in Dededo, paying particular attention to areas where residents who had confirmed cases of dengue fever resided, and continue through Jan. 30. The mayors are to identify the areas of distribution and turn in the lists by today. 

"Every day there'll be distribution with teams from Department of Public Health and the Homeless Coalition going out with the designated mayor's staff," Savares said. 

There are over 5,000 bottles to be distributed around the island, Savares added. 

The teams also will ask families if they are interested in mosquito nets. 

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.

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