Teresa Salatier sat waiting for her nephew in a bus stop along Mariano Street in Mangilao as a blue pickup truck from the village mayor's office slowly drove by Monday morning.
The man on the truck's loudspeaker repeated the same message - that public officials would perform an outreach and address concerns related to dengue fever.
Guam heard news of its first locally acquired dengue infection in 75 years last week. Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, on Friday, signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency and allocating $250,000 to the Department of Public Health and Social Services.
Salatier is from Sinajana but her sister lived a short distance down the road along Sensong Street. There are a lot of mosquitoes in that area, Salatier added.
She was not aware of the local case and said she wanted to get more information from the government, such as the type of mosquito that carried the disease.
The primary transmitter of the disease – the mosquito species Aedes aegypti – is not on Guam. However, the Asian tiger mosquito – another transmitter – does exist on island.
The Department of Public Health and Social Services has been releasing information about dengue to the media, such as the type of mosquito carrier, but Salatier said she hasn't seen the information. She doesn't go online, so Salatier hasn't encountered the information there either.
"They need to let all the people know about it and what they need to do to protect themselves," she said.
Carlos Laganzo tended to his home along Sengsong Street as the announcement from the truck's loudspeaker echoed in the distance.
Laganzo said he was concerned about dengue as he'd been following stories from media in the Philippines, where the disease has claimed more than 600 lives, according to the BBC.
The type of dengue acquired locally on Guam is DENV 3, the same type in the Philippines, Yap, Palau and the Marshall Islands, according to Public Health.
Laganzo also said he wasn't aware of the local case but he had been cleaning up areas around his home that accumulate water – a breeding ground for mosquitoes. He tipped over an old tire resting on a car as he spoke to the Post, releasing foul stagnant water into the ground.
Laganzo's grandson attends Agueda Johnston Middle School, one of the two schools closed Monday to complete the spraying of insecticide. The other was Ordot Chalan Pago Elementary School. Spraying began on Sunday and continued on Monday. The schools were closed Monday but are expected to resume classes today.
Residents within the 200-meter radius of the confirmed case are also being asked to have their homes sprayed to control adult and larval mosquitoes, according to the Joint Information Center.
"Outreach efforts were conducted throughout Monday in collaboration with the Mangilao Mayor’s Office and will continue throughout the week," the JIC release stated.
The insecticides used include Bonide Mosquito Beater Larvicide, Talstar Professional Insecticide and Demon Max Insecticide.
The Guam Environmental Protection Agency determined these insecticides to be EPA-Registered and EPA-Established "in accordance with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and the Guam Pesticides Control Act," the JIC release stated. The vendor contracted to do the spraying is permitted with GEPA as a certified pesticide applicator, the release added.
False social media information
The Joint Information Center sent out a press release saying the social media posts and messages that identify Ordot Chalan Pago as “ground zero" for the local case of dengue fever is false.
Jenna Blas, who leads the JIC as the spokeswoman of the Guam Homeland Security/Office of Civil Defense, told The Guam Daily Post "there is no confirmed origin at this time." Officials noted that the community is "reminded to refrain from sharing unofficial social media posts or messages that are not from the JIC." They have said in the past that sharing unofficial information leads to misinformation and confusion.