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Guam confirms its first case of monkeypox, dengue fever

Updated: Sep 13


By Pacific Island Times News Staff


The Department of Public Health and Social Services today reported Guam's first case of monkeypox, which was detected in an incoming traveler.


"Confirmation of the individual’s illness was made by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sept. 11," the department said.


Health officials said the infected individual, whose name will not be released to preserve their privacy, arrived on Guam on Sept. 10 and is currently in isolation.


"The individual indicated they do not need medical attention and is being monitored for any changes in their condition," the DPHSS said.


DPHSS staff will confer with the individual’s healthcare provider to confirm the onset date of symptoms to calculate the appropriate isolation period.


Once the onset date of symptoms is confirmed, DPHSS staff will calculate the isolation period and inform the individual of the end date of isolation to protect the public from the risk of infection. DPHSS has further launched a case investigation to identify and notify any possible close contacts.


"The traveler is properly isolated and does not pose a danger to the local community,” Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero. “All parties are cooperative, and we ask that the public stay aware and informed on the signs and symptoms of Monkeypox. Our administration continues to keep alert of the evolving global situation, as we closely monitor transmission trends to bolster our state of readiness and response.”


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According to the CDC, monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus.


Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as the variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.


People with monkeypox get a rash that may be located on or near the genitals or anus and could be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.

  • The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.

  • The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.

Other symptoms of monkeypox can include:

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Exhaustion

  • Muscle aches and backache

  • Headache

  • Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)

You may experience all or only a few symptoms:

  • Sometimes, people have flu-like symptoms before the rash.

  • Some people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms.

  • Others only experience a rash.

Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:

  • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox

  • Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces used by someone with monkeypox; and

  • Contact with respiratory secretions

This direct contact can happen during intimate contact. A person with monkeypox can spread it to others from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts two to four weeks.


Currently, testing is only recommended for those who have a rash consistent with monkeypox.


Health officials said only a healthcare provider can order a monkeypox test. The healthcare provider may take a specimen and send it to a lab for testing or they may send the patient to a lab for both specimen collection and testing.

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On Sept. 9, DPHSS received confirmation of a blood specimen from a patient that tested positive for the dengue virus.


The DPHSS territorial epidemiologist reported that it is most likely an imported case.


"This new case demonstrates how important it is for the people of Guam to maintain efforts to reduce mosquitoes and avoid mosquito bites," officials said.


"As a reminder, the dengue virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito and cannot spread directly from person to person. Anyone who lives in, or travels to, an area where the dengue virus is found can get infected by mosquito bites," they added.


Health officials advised the community to avoid mosquito bites and eliminate mosquito breeding sites to help stop the spread of the dengue virus.

Help Stop the Spread of Dengue Virus Take precautions to prevent mosquito bites by applying insect repellant and wearing light-colored long-sleeved shirts and pants. The mosquito that carries the dengue virus favors smaller areas of water as found in artificial containers. Eliminating these areas can help stop the spread of the dengue virus. Thus, empty or discard items that can collect water. DPHSS Efforts in Pesticide Spraying On Friday afternoon and Saturday, the Division of Environmental Health of this Department canvassed homes in the area of concern in Barrigada, notifying residents and seeking consent to conduct pesticide spraying to target adult mosquitoes in the area.


DPHSS said the staff applied EPA-approved pesticides at four high-risk target areas that provided written consent for spraying. DEH staff will continue to apply pesticides as they receive consent in the coming days.


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