Photo courtesy of palauhealth.org
Palau Health Minister Emais Roberts said that an upsurge of dengue cases has been noted starting late November.
During the weekly press conference at the Presidential Office in Meyuns on Wednesday, December 12, Emais said that dengue cases for the month of December alone had reached 16, surpassing the threshold of 10 cases a month.
Emais said that since the earlier two confirmed cases were found to be caused by a new kind of mosquito-borne virus, the Dengue Serotype 3 which is said to be endemic to countries in Western Asia, everyone is susceptible to it as a person can only be immune to a virus that he or she already encountered.
Dengue viruses that are endemic to Palau are Type 1, 2, and 4 in which those who have been infected with them once are already immune.
“The real treatment is prevention as there is no vaccine for it yet,” Emais said, urging the public to follow recommended tips to prevent spread of dengue fever.
When asked how the new dengue virus could have possibly infiltrated Palau, Emais could only surmise that someone who had been infected with the virus had brought it here.
Since the MOH declared Dengue alert, people have been coming to the hospital to be checked, Emais said.
The samples for the 16 new cases this month were already sent to Hawaii laboratory for testing and MOH has been communicating with authorities there every day via phone call to get information on the samples.
The MOH continues to ask the public to follow recommended measures to prevent further infection by practicing the 3S of dengue prevention – searching and eliminating mosquito breeding sites in and around homes, self-protection measures such as wearing clothing that covers skin and using insect repellant on exposed skin, and seeking early consultation when showing symptoms of dengue fever.
Those who are experiencing sudden high fever, severe headache and backache, chills, body ache, joint and muscle pain, experiencing pain when moving the eyes, appetite loss and vomiting are advised to immediately seek medical assistance as these are the symptoms of dengue fever. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)