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Govt directed to focus on dengue prevention

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With zero locally-acquired dengue infections and only two cases of imported dengue in the CNMI, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres wants to make sure that the disease doesn’t gain a toehold here. In a directive yesterday, Torres instructed the entire CNMI government to help the Commonwealth Health Care Corp. in its efforts to prevent the spread of dengue in the CNMI.

Noting that there had already been multiple outbreaks of dengue throughout the Pacific region affecting Guam, the Philippines, Palau, Yap, and the Marshall Islands, Torres pointed out that the CNMI has had only two cases of imported dengue so far and he said all efforts must be done to keep it that way.

Imported cases refer to instances of dengue that were acquired off-island while locally-acquired cases refer to instances of patients contracting dengue on island.

“As we have learned through the two confirmed imported cases, our remoteness from the U.S. mainland makes medical management of severe dengue especially challenging,” Torres noted in Directive 2020-002. “Therefore, Lt. Gov. Arnold Palacios and I strongly support [CHCC’s] multi-pronged approach at preventing returning travelers from transmitting the virus in the CNMI and protecting those residents living in congregate areas who are most at risk and lacking in the means to protect themselves and their families.”

“I hereby direct all CNMI agencies to mobilize and exert available resources into working with CHCC and our federal partners in a concerted effort to control and prevent the widespread outbreak of the dengue virus in the Commonwealth,” Torres said.

Dengue is spread through mosquito bites.

The governor noted that, with recovery efforts still ongoing for Super Typhoon Yutu, typhoon-related debris that collects standing water could lead to more mosquitoes since they reproduce in stagnant water.

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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