Dengue outbreak mounts in Majuro

Red Cross volunteers in Majuro have joined island-wide cleanup efforts to remove mosquito-breeding grounds as part of dengue prevention. Photo: Roger Muller.

The dengue outbreak took hold of Majuro last week, with the number of suspected and confirmed cases more than doubling in seven days’ time, according to the Ministry of Health and Human Services situation report of September 8.

A total of 57 cases were reported in Majuro through September 1. By September 8, the latest available situation report, the number had skyrocketed to 124. Meanwhile, numbers in Ebeye slowed last week, with only nine new cases being reported, bringing the Ebeye total to 228.

The numbers on Majuro continue to skyrocket, with the ministry reporting an outbreak-high one-day total of 18 new cases on Majuro Wednesday this week.

The increase in Majuro is atoll-wide. While Delap showed the largest number, 28, of the 124 total as of September 8, people with suspected or confirmed cases of dengue have been seen from Rita to Laura — although through September 8, only two had been identified in Laura. This past week, the first two cases of dengue were identified on Rongrong, home to Marshalls Christian High School, which was a previously unaffected island in Majuro Atoll.

Ebeye, where the outbreak started back in May, actually had several days last week with no new cases. Overall, the ministry reported nine new cases on Ebeye from September 1-8, an obvious slowing of numbers. Most of Ebeye’s dengue cases have developed since the end of July.

Following spraying of the entire island of Ebeye last month, major spraying activity has been ongoing in Majuro for two weeks along with huge clean up efforts by the community supported by heavy equipment from Majuro Atoll Local Government and the Ministry of Works, Infrastructure and Environment.

Read more about this in the September 13, 2019 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.