Dengue numbers surpass 200

DOH urging everyone to do their part
blue@samoanews.com

In a little less than a year, the number of confirmed dengue fever cases in the territory has climbed to 201, while the confirmed number of Zika cases has reached 93.

This is according to Dept. of Health epidemiologist Scott Anesi who encourages everyone to do their part in ridding the territory of these mosquito-borne diseases.

While the DOH message has always centered around the 3Ds (Drain, DEET, and Dress), a new "D" (Discuss) has been added.

Discussions with neighbors, family members, and friends is a critical component in the fight against dengue fever, ZIKA, Chikungunya, and the West Nile Virus; and according to Anesi, the 3Ds does a person little good if they follow it but fail to 'discuss' with a neighbor who lives 12 feet away.

"There's no point cleaning up around your house if your neighbor doesn't do the same," said Anesi. "Everyone needs to be informed, everyone needs to do their part."

Dengue fever is a disease caused by a family of viruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes. Symptoms include severe joint and muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes, headache, fever, exhaustion, and rash.

According to medicinenet.com, because there is no specific medicine or antibiotic to treat it, dengue fever treatment is directed towards relief of the symptoms, or symptomatic treatment. A vaccine for dengue fever was approved in April 2016 for use in dengue-endemic areas.

Like dengue, Zika is also carried by infected mosquitoes and can cause birth defects when it is passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Microcephaly is a birth defect that causes babies to be born with small heads. It is a sign of incomplete brain development.

One important detail that local residents need to understand is that Zika can be transmitted through sex. The use of condoms is encouraged.

Anesi said cases of Chikungunya are almost non-existent.

Like dengue and Zika, the disease is transmitted by mosquitoes and the most common symptoms are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat chikungunya virus infection.

DOH encourages everyone to clean up around their homes and surrounding areas, drain containers that hold water which can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes, and protect yourself with mosquito repellant containing DEET.

Old, unused tires should be disposed of at the Futiga Landfill, and discussions should be a norm to keep family members and the community in the loop, on the importance of keeping the village clean.

DOH has taken the lead, carrying out clean-up in villages including Tafuna, Aoloau, Aasu, Fagasa, Fagamalo, Malaeloa, and Fagaima.

The highest number of dengue and Zika cases are reported from the west side of the island.

Those who want to get rid of big items, such as scrap metal, are advised to call ASPA at 699-1234 and ask where the designated 'drop off area' for your scrap metal and solid waste is located. Using this service waives all associated fees.

More information can be obtained by calling the DOH emergency preparedness hotline at 699-8690.

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