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  • By Pacific Island Times Staff

Dengue outbreak leaves 3 dead in Palau

Koror— The dengue outbreak have claimed the lives of three people in Palau, where 362 cases of the virus infection have been identified as of July 10, the Bureau of National Health reported.

The first dengue cases in Palau were first detected in October 2016.

According to health officials, the number of cases of dengue seen at Bureau of National Health exceeded the threshold for an outbreak in November of 2016.

“There have been three deaths as a result of dengue virus infection in patients with pre-existing medical conditions and who sought medical attention too late,” the health bureau said.

The identities of the victims were not available as of press time.

A majority of dengue victims were residents of Koror, where all hamlets have been affected. Other cases were detected in Airai state.

Most cases in June and July were between 10 and 29 years old (42%) with more males (58%) than females (42%). Age range: 9 months – 88 years; mean: 22; median: 27. Roughly 84% of cases were Palauan, nearly 5% were Bangladeshi. Others affected included (5%) : Chinese, Taiwanese, Filipinos, Americans, and other Pacific Islanders.

“This highlights the importance of protecting the vulnerable populations – those with NCDs, infants and young children, the elderly and anyone with a weakened immune system – and strengthening community awareness efforts to encourage infected persons to seek medical attention early, to avert future deaths,” the health bureau said.

“There is no vaccine or anti-viral drug for the treatment of dengue, however dengue virus infection both preventable and treatable. The 3S of dengue prevention are to: Search and eliminate mosquitoes, use Self-protection measures like mosquito repellent, and Seek medical attention early if you think you have dengue.”

According to Dr. Salanieta Saketa of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s public health division, dengue has also affected five of the six countries being monitored the agency each week. “The dengue type 2 seems to be the predominant one in the region and we think this is a concern as this particular serotype has not been in circulation in the Pacific for almost 20 years which means that a lot of people may not have immunity against this serotype, and so a lot of people are susceptible and can be infected,” Saketa said.

SPC monitors the dengue situation in New Caledonia, Vanuatu, American Samoa, Fiji and French Polynesia.

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