15 Jan 2018

Call for more action to combat dengue in American Samoa

12:33 pm on 15 January 2018

The Department of Health in American Samoa is being asked what measures it's taking to protect the territory from dengue fever.

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Photo: 123RF

This followed five deaths in neighbouring Samoa from a dengue outbreak that began in October.

On Friday, American Samoan senator Nuanuaolefeagaiga Saoluaga Nua called for vigilante action to ensure dengue-related deaths are prevented.

The senator told KHJ News that with so many people traveling between the two Samoas, there needed to be a coordinated effort to stop the mosquito borne disease from spreading.

He said he hadn't seen or heard much about dengue prevention efforts in the territory when the department should be bombarding the media with announcements on what to do to protect yourself from dengue.

An epidemiologist with the department Magele Scott Anesi, said the Unified Health Command had been reactivated and their first meeting on Tuesday discussed plans to respond to dengue.

From 1 November to 7January there were 485 confirmed dengue cases in the territory.

Magele said he would be talking with counterparts in Samoa to see what assistance the territory can offer for the outbreak there.

He said the command hoped to release a plan of action to respond to the Samoa dengue deaths and rapid spread of the disease there next week.

The areas with the heavy concentration of suspected dengue cases are Ituau, Mauputasi and Sua.