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New dengue cases continue into the new year in Palau

Koror- The painful and life threatening dengue virus is working overtime in Palau with the help of mosquitoes.

Palau’s Ministry of Health Director of Nursing Antonnette Merur told reporters on Wednesday, "as of this morning there’s a total of six people admitted with dengue fever with two of them in critical condition."

Thirty-five dengue cases have been confirmed so far in the month of December, and as of Jan. 2, two more cases were reported.

In 2017, five deaths were recorded as a result of dengue virus. That year there were 500 cases of dengue fever.

Dengue cases could potentially become more severe with the first ever-confirmed case of serotype 3 in Palau, according to the Ministry of Health.

This poses a significant concern for public health, as the whole population is potentially vulnerable to infection. There is added concern over the risk of severe dengue in persons with subsequent infection with a different serotype of dengue.

According to the health ministry’s dengue outbreak situation report issued on Dec. 21, the first two confirmed cases of dengue-3 were encountered at the Belau National Hospital on Oct. 28 and Nov. 11; however, their serotype results did not become available until Dec. 1, 2018.

In response to the outbreak, the Ministry of Health activated its emergency response team on Dec. 7, 2018.

The team has been tasked with raising community awareness of the outbreak and dengue prevention measures, conducting disease surveillance and reporting, strengthening mosquito control measures, and ensuring adequate resources are available to combat the outbreak.

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