PRESS RELEASE from the Ministry of Health: Dengue Fever in American Samoa

This is a Public Health Alert concerning Dengue Fever in neighbouring American Samoa.  There are so far four confirmed dengue fever cases at LBJ Hospital with two confirmed deaths in the month of May and a possible third deceased case.  Confirmation tests were done using Eliza serum panel testing in a Hawaii lab. The two confirmed deaths was in a male 37 years and a 10 month old child.  The third suspected death is a 16 year old girl.  Signs and symptoms noted were mainly of flu-like symptoms, fever, vomiting and a very speedy deterioration within two days of admission.  Currently, samples have been sent for serotyping.

Public Health Measures continue to be:

  • Prevention:

Dress to prevent mosquito bites with long sleeves and pants; use of screen wires for the home.
Drain and Destroy mosquito breeding sites inside and outside your home or living area. This includes applying larvicides and biological control to destroy larva form of mosquitoes.
Destroy adult mosquitoes using repellent sprays, chemical sprays, mosquito coils and others.

  • General and Personal Hygiene to avoid transmission of infectious diseases.
  • Source reduction and chemical spraying to reduce vector breeding sites.
  • Border Health Security and Control – spraying of flights between American Samoa and Samoa and other Pacific Island nations
  • Chemical vector control – prioritising ports/schools/hospitals/patient residence and other major venues.
    Aggressive multi-agency collaborations for source reduction, community mobilization and media awareness campaign.
  • Advice to public to adhere ways of prevention and transmission of mosquito-borne diseases.

The Ministry of Health would like to advise that all clinicians and health personnel at this point, to be updated on signs and symptoms, danger signs and management of Dengue fever, Dengue Haemorrhagic and Dengue Shock Syndrome.  As you are aware, dengue fever serotypes 1, 2 and 3 have been circulating in the nearby island nations such as Tonga (serotype 3) and Fiji (serotype 3) and other serotypes in other Pacific Island nations.  
Samoa’s last dengue outbreak was in 2008 with the circulating serotype 4.  
Please be on the look-out for Dengue-like illness that may present at your clinics and ensure appropriate Rapid tests with paired serum; Full Blood count and Haematocrit with platelet count.  
Please ensure NOTIFICATION to our Surveillance System 24hr direct-line 29596. 

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