Wed. Nov 20th, 2019

Palau’s dengue outbreak spills over to neighboring islands

Palau’s dengue outbreak is now affecting other islands in the region as reports stated that some dengue cases in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) this year were confirmed to have been contracted by patients during a visit in the country.

The CNMI’s Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation (CHCC), in a press statement dated September 6, reported that a patient in Saipan that was confirmed to have been infected by dengue virus had just recently returned from a trip to Palau where it is believed the individual contracted the virus.

Earlier, the CHCC also reported that the first patient in Saipan that was confirmed to have dengue fever was likewise believed to have acquired the dengue virus during a visit in Palau. The CHCC stated that there is no evidence yet that dengue transmission is occurring on their island.

Meanwhile, the Guam Daily Post also quoted Guam Territorial Epidemiologist Ann Pobutsky in a report confirming that the first dengue case in Guam this year was contracted by the patient during a visit in Palau. Guam’s Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) said in a press statement that dengue fever is not endemic on their island and that there are no dengue virus transmissions occurring there.

Both CNMI and Saipan’s health institutions have advised their residents to take precautionary measures when travelling to nearby countries such as Palau, the Philippines, Yap (Federated States of Micronesia), and the Republic of Marshall Islands that are currently battling dengue outbreaks.

The Times tried to reach out to MOH for a chance to comment on the issue but has not received any response as of this writing.

Palau’s Ministry of Health (MOH) reported that there had been 26 cases of dengue fever within August 26 to September 1 alone.

The MOH, through a press statement, continues to advise the public to take precautionary measures to prevent the prevalence of dengue. It also asks individuals to immediately seek consultation when experiencing the symptoms of dengue fever which include sudden high fever, severe headache and backache, chills, joint and muscle pains, and vomiting, among others. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)