Tue. Nov 12th, 2019

Prolonged dengue outbreak attributed to unusual weather and new dengue strain

Dengue case have been going on for 11 months now since December last year and this prolonged outbreak is due to unusually wet weather conditions that Palau has been experiencing for nearly a year.

“Except for few weeks where we have had brief dry spells, it has been raining heavily nearly every month since January,” stated Minister of Health Dr. Emais Roberts of one of the main reasons for continuous dengue outbreak.

“Dengue carrying mosquito loves this type of weather, where it would rain heavily, followed by hot humid conditions.  This kind of weather also provide best breeding conditions for the mosquito,” added Minister Roberts.

Other reason cited for the constantly high number of dengue cases is the introduction of the dengue sero-type 3.  “Many of those people that were infected before by dengue sero-type 2 don’t have the immunity against the sero-type 3 and therefore are still getting infected,” reported Roberts.

Despite public outreach and awareness campaign, some people are still not taking precautions.  Over 600 persons have been infected by dengue during this outbreak period with two fatalities.  Minister Roberts said that the fatalities need not have happened if the patients have come to the hospital earlier.

A new information coming from a scientist working with Ministry of Health and studying dengue carrying mosquito is shedding light on possible ways to tackle the dengue outbreak.

Results of the study show that most dengue carrying mosquito stay inside homes and only go outside to breed.  It further shows that mosquito carrying dengue virus can pass on that virus to its eggs or next generation of mosquitoes are born already carrying the virus.   These information help in eradication of the dengue virus.

Dengue cases  reached its peak period in July where cases reached around  147.    Ministry of Health partnered with Koror State in raising awareness in August and doing cleanups around town dropping the numbers to 120. In September it dropped by 50%  to 60 cases and dropped again in October  by 33%.  Up to November 6, only 4 cases have been reported.

Minister of Health encourages everyone to clean our homes and destroy any mosquito nesting areas or possible mosquito nesting areas. Minister of Health wants to advise and remind people to take care of themselves by wearing long sleeves and using repellents like mosquito coils or the sprays, to always clean around our home to prevent mosquito nesting areas and to be sure to quickly go see the doctor if they are feeling dengue symptoms so that the hospital can quickly deal with it while its still in its early stage. (Kerdeu Uong)