On Friday, December 7, 2018, the Palau Ministry of Health alerted the public of an outbreak of dengue fever following the first ever laboratory confirmation of two cases with dengue serotype-3. 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. A large outbreak of dengue-2 concluded a year ago on December 8, 2017, however we have seen sporadic cases throughout the year.
The first two confirmed cases of dengue-3 were encountered at the Belau National Hospital on October 28 and November 11, however their serotype results did not become available until December 1, 2018. In response to the outbreak, the Ministry of Health activated its emergency response team on December 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.
There was 1 confirmed case of dengue fever identified during the reporting period. This brings the total from December 1 – 20, 2018 to 27 cases.