The Department of Public Health and Social Services has been notified of one confirmed and one suspected case of imported Dengue Fever on Guam. Dengue Fever is a disease caused by any one of four closely related dengue viruses (DENV 1, DENV 2, DENV 3, or DENV 4).

Guam map Image/CIA
Guam map

The viruses are transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Aedes aegypti mosquito is the primary transmitter, or vector, of dengue viruses, and fortunately this particular mosquito is not found on Guam. However, the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, which is another competent vector of dengue viruses does exist on island. As a result, the public is urged to remain vigilant in preventing the transmission of the disease and eliminating mosquito breeding sites.

The principal symptoms of Dengue Fever are high fever, severe headache, severe pain behind the eyes, joint pain, muscle and bone pain, rash, and mild bleeding usually around nose or gums. Generally, younger children and those with their first dengue infection have a milder illness than older children and adults.

Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF), the severe form of the disease, is characterized by a fever that lasts from 2 to 7 days, which can be followed by persistent vomiting, severe abdominal pain, and difficulty breathing. In addition, patients with DHF tend to bruise easily or other skin hemorrhages and possibly even internal bleeding. There is no vaccine for preventing Dengue Fever.

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The best preventive measure for residents living in areas infested with mosquitoes is to eliminate the places where the mosquito lays its eggs, which are primarily artificial containers that hold water. Mosquito larvae only need a little bit of standing water to survive. The Department wants to remind residents that breaking the mosquito life cycle starts at the home.