CHCC: Dengue fever not a concern here

Despite reports of the dengue virus being spotted in Guam, dengue fever remains a non-threat to the CNMI, but surveillance efforts have been heightened to ensure it does not gain entry here, according to the Commonwealth Health Care Corp. chief executive officer Esther Munña.

An imported dengue fever case was confirmed in Guam last Friday, causing local public health agencies to issue warnings about mosquito breeding grounds.

Muña said in an interview yesterday that Guam is more prone to imported dengue fever cases since it has more access to the Pacific and is a hub for air travel in the region. That’s not so for the CNMI, she said, which is relatively safer.

That, and the fact that the mosquito that carries the dengue virus cannot be found in the CNMI makes it a non-threat to the islands.

Muña noted that the hospital’s Public Health Preparedness Program, led by Warren Villagomez, is capable of catching the presence of dengue fever on Saipan right away. She added that the CHCC Division of Public Health, along with CHCC’s laboratories, are coordinating to ensure that they catch the presence of the virus right away.

“All of this is part of that integration,” she said. “Right now, there is nothing. We are putting surveillance on it.”

“We knew about Guam but, at the end of the day, we don’t [want to] create panic. We also want to keep track of it,” she said.

According to Muña, besides not having the mosquitoes that carry the disease, dengue fever is easily treatable.

News media outlets note that Palau is currently experiencing a dengue outbreak. The Palau Ministry of Health have reported a total of 164 dengue cases.

Other Pacific islands were the dengue virus is present includes Tahiti, Fiji, American Samoa, New Caledonia, and Vanuatu. French Polynesia is also seeing some dengue cases.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.
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