Take Precaution during the Rainy Season

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Take Precaution during the Rainy Season

by: US Naval Base Guam | .
US Naval Base Guam | .
published: November 16, 2013

Take Precaution during the Rainy Season

U.S. Naval Hospital Guam Preventive Medicine Warns Against Specific Viruses and Bacteria's Caused by Rain and Storms

Naval Hospital Guam Public Affairs--U.S. Naval Hospital Guam Preventive Medicine Department is warning patients to protect themselves against Dengue and Chikungunya virus, contracted through mosquito bites. They are also warning against Leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that affects animals and humans.

Currently there are no local reports of people who have acquired the Dengue virus; however the mosquito classification for Dengue, Aedes Aegypti is widespread in Guam. Dengue infection is a leading cause of illness and death in the tropics and subtropics.

Recently, the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) reported an outbreak of fever, rash and joint pain in Yap and confirmed it to be the Chikungunya virus. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Chikungunya fever is not typically fatal.

Reports released by the CDC state there is not currently a vaccine to fight against Dengue and there is no specific cure for Chikungunya fever. The best prevention method suggested by them was to take preventive measures and avoid exposure when possible. Anyone who has experienced symptoms of severe headache, joint pain, muscle or bone pain, rash, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, should contact their primary provider.

Leptospirosis is occasionally reported on Guam and is typically associated with boonie stomping or swimming in the local rivers. The bacterium is spread to humans through the urine of infected animals which get into water and soil and survive for weeks. The most common animal carriers on Guam include cattle, swine, dogs, and rodents. Symptoms include high fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), red eyes, abdominal Pain, diarrhea, and rash. Typically, Leptospirosis is treated with antibiotics or penicillin, which should be given early in the course of the disease.

To reduce the risk of contracting Leptospirosis, USNH Guam Preventive Medicine department along with the CDC, recommends not swimming or wading in water that might be contaminated with animal urine, or eliminating contact with potentially infected animals. They also recommend protective clothing or footwear to those whose job or recreational activities include close contact with animals, water, or soil.

To reduce the risk contracting the Dengue and Chikungunya virus, USNH Guam Preventive Medicine department along with the CDC recommend the following:

• Eliminate mosquito breeding sites (get rid of stagnant water; clean gutters, cover drums/barrels; change water for potted plants every 2-3 days; and properly dispose of loose tires).
• Use mosquito repellents containing DEET as the active ingredient on exposed skin and clothing when staying outdoors.
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into socks when outdoors during times when mosquito's are biting at dusk and dawn especially.
• Ensure windows and door screens are intact.
If you would like to schedule an appointment call Central Appointments at 344-9402

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