American Samoa Declares 6 Month Public Health Emergency Over Dengue

13 positive cases confirmed; 30 suspected

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, March 7, 2017) – A six months public health emergency has been declared in American Samoa following confirmation of three dengue fever cases from the Hawaii State Laboratory.

Tala Nei News reports that the Acting Governor Lemanu Palepoi Mauga has declared a public health emergency exist in American Samoa  due to confirmed cases of dengue fever.

There were also two confirmed cases of dengue in the months of November and December last year.

In addition, rapid dengue fever tests deployed by the LBJ Hospital  for fast detection and treatment purposes have identified 13 positive cases of dengue.

Suspected dengue fever cases recorded by the Department of Health  from January 20 to February 17, is 30.

According to the declaration, the dengue strain found in the latest cases are dengue serotype 2, which has not circulated in the territory since 1972.

Those born in American Samoa after 1972 or who first arrived in the territory after that date are the primary susceptible members of the population.

Under local law, the governor can issue a declaration of public health emergency upon the recommendation of the Director of Health.

Acting Governor Lemanu says the confirmation of multiple cases of the dengue fever virus in the territory constitutes a public health emergency or an imminent treat of a public health emergency.

Symptons if dengue fever include joint pain, eye pain, fever, rash, muscle pain and gastrointestinal discomfort and problems, and severe headache; these symptoms may be similar to those of chukungunya and zika, with all strains having the potential to go hemorrhagic, with a 1% mortality rate.

The declaration authorizes the Director of Health to engage his department, the LBJ Hospital, Office of Samoan Affairs and other agencies to participate in active vector control in villages.

DOH is also authorized to use any resources and facilities needed to fully respond to the dengue outbreak.

Lemanu asks all agencies of the American Samoa government to provide all assistance, collaboration and coordination as requested by DOH.

The declaration shall be in force for 180 days from last Friday.

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