Travelers to the area advised to take precautions
The Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services reports that a possible outbreak of rotavirus disease is being investigated in Yap, Federated States of Micronesia. On July 6, 2018, the Yap Department of Health Services reported 141 cases of diarrhea (7 cases were hospitalized and 71 cases required rehydration). Thirteen out of 16 laboratory tests were positive for rotavirus.
Rotavirus is a viral infection that causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines (acute gastroenteritis). Anyone can get rotavirus disease. However, it mostly affects infants and young children. Rotavirus spreads easily. The virus is shed in the stool of people who are infected. A person can get sick if they touch an object contaminated with rotavirus and put their hand in their mouth or consume contaminated food or drinks.
Symptoms include fever, vomiting, watery diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Diarrhea, vomiting, and fever can cause a loss of body fluids. This leads to dehydration, which can be very dangerous, especially for babies and young children. Therefore, DPHSS advises persons traveling to Yap to protect themselves by minimizing exposure (close contact) to persons who have diarrhea-like illness or who are sick.
Travelers are also encouraged to:
ü Ensure your infant is fully vaccinated with the rotavirus vaccine. Two rotavirus vaccines are currently licensed for use in infants in the U.S.
o RotaTeq® is given in 3 doses at ages 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months
o Rotarix® is given in 2 doses at ages 2 months and 4 months
Both vaccines are given by putting drops in the child’s mouth. The first dose of either vaccine is most effective if it is given before a child is 15 weeks of age. Children should receive all doses of rotavirus vaccine before they are 8 months old.
ü Bring soap and hand sanitizer; and
ü Wash hands often and thoroughly with soap and running water, especially after using the toilet and before eating or preparing food.
All healthcare providers on Guam should be on alert for possible cases of rotavirus and to promptly report suspect cases to the Immunization Program, Bureau of Communicable Disease Control, at (671) 735-7143/7148 or 735-7135. Furthermore, all healthcare providers are urged to review and update the immunization status of all patients they see. If vaccination is contraindicated because of illness, schedule a follow-up appointment to update vaccination as soon as the illness is over.