By Johnnie Rosario
(Tumon, Guam) The people of Piti may not have been warned, but a woman and her 5-year-old daughter are suffering Dengue infection, and they contracted it from the football field behind Jose Rios Middle School.
The woman, whom we will not name to respect her health privacy, believes she is the latest case to be reported as a confirmed patient. She believes she is the person, whose residence is referred to as “*Barrigada/Toto,” explaining that she lives in an apartment in Mong Mong-Toto-Maite, but that she and her family often stay at her parents’ home in Barrigada. She told Department of Public Health and Social Services officials this in a long interview they had with her following lab work ordered by her doctor.
On September 14, the woman, who is in her 20s, suffered a mild stroke. On September 19 she saw her physician, Dr. Vincent Duenas, with a fever and he ordered lab work. On Monday, September 23, her condition worsened, so Dr. Duenas told her to go to the Guam Memorial Hospital emergency room right away.
Her lab results came back while she was at the ER. The results showed low platelet counts, according to her, and GMH officials immediately suspected Dengue infection. A mosquito net was placed over her bed, while she was on IV for nutrients. She was released, and the next day, September 24, she met with Infection Control officials at DPHSS, along with her daughter, who also started showing symptoms the day before.
Her daughter, who attends B.P. Carbullido Elementary School in Barrigada, was tested at IHP Medical Group in Harmon under Dr. Luis Cruz’s care on September 23, when her daughter started feeling ill. She did not start having fevers until September 26. Her fevers for the past three days have ranged between 102.6 degrees Fahrenheit and 103 degrees Farenheit.
While with Infection Control officials on September 24, she was asked about her medical and travel history, and her whereabouts in Guam, among other questions.
The woman told officials that she is certain she contracted the virus from the football field in Piti during a practice of the Mandikiki Division team The Outlaws, a youth football team. She said that while at practice a swarm of mosquitos bit her. She showed them the bites and described them as painful swellings. She said the bites themselves were painful.
The woman’s fever has not subsided. She also is nauseated and is experiencing joint aches, bleeding gums, and severe chest pains. She said neither GMH nor Public Health has contacted her about her test results, and no one is providing her any guidance as to the care she’s supposed to be receiving. “They gave us these big mosquito nets and that was it,” she said.
Public Health would not disclose her daughter’s test results, telling her they give those results to the daughter’s doctor. The problem, according to the woman, is that Dr. Cruz left island shortly after he saw her daughter on September 23 at IHP.
The girl has not been to school since the onset of her fever.
It is unclear whether these two cases have been reported by the Joint Information Center. Department of Education Superintendent Jon Fernandez has not returned our calls and messages to see whether the BP Carbullido Elementary School community in Barrigada is aware of this development. No one answered the phones at the JIC, and Civil Defense spokeswoman Jenna Blas did not return our call for answers.
The woman is most concerned about her daughter’s classmates at Carbullido Elementary, and the kids who practice and play football at the Piti field and the residents there.
She said that she informed the coordinators of The Outlaws about the situation, but that they have not cancelled practices and games there because the government has not released any information about any suspected infection borne from mosquitos in Piti.
Infection Control officials have said it is difficult to ascertain where patients were bitten. In this case, however, the woman told Infection Control officials about the swarm of mosquitos at the Piti field that bit her days prior to the onset of symptoms. She also told them about her daughter’s attendance at the Barrigada public school.
“I just want for Piti families to know,” she said, referring to the lack of any alert to the residents of Piti.
Kandit informed governor’s director of policy Carlo Branch about the situation. Mr. Branch said he will call Tom Nadeau, who is in charge of the vector control unit, to send a team to the Piti area tonight. Mr. Branch also said that the patient referred to as living in the *Barrigada/Toto area is a male. He said officials will try to get to the bottom of this matter.