HONAUNAU, Hawaii – The Department of Health was busy in Honaunau on Friday, applying mosquito control and pesticide treatments in the South Kona dengue fever hotspot on Hawaii Island. Steven Okoji, a supervising sanitarian for the West Hawaii unit of the DOH Hawaii District Health Office, gave an update from the field.
Bennet Group Strategic Communications is helping the state disseminate information about the outbreak. They issued a media release on Friday evening, as well as an advisory for a press conference set for 2 p.m. Monday at Yano Hall in Captain Cook. State and County officials will be present to talk about “collaborative efforts to prevent the spread of dengue fever in Hawaii.”
LATEST NEWS: The Hawaii Island dengue fever outbreak
November 6, 2015
HONOLULU – The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is encouraging residents, businesses and visitors across the state to take proactive measures to avoid dengue fever. DOH today confirmed a total of 23 cases of locally transmitted dengue fever on Hawaii Island. All of the patients have recovered or are recovering.
“The State of Hawaii is working collaboratively with the counties of Hawaii to ensure that the public has as much information as possible through multiple communications channels, including our website, social media, community meetings and more,” said Virginia Pressler, M.D., director of the Hawaii State Department of Health. “We acknowledge and share the concerns of the community and are employing the necessary resources to effectively and quickly prevent the spread of this disease.”
Dengue fever is spread through mosquito contact – mosquitoes carrying the illness from an infected individual can spread it from one individual to another through mosquito bites. The DOH recommends applying mosquito repellent containing 20 to 30 percent DEET, wearing long sleeved shirts and pants, using indoor insecticides, and reducing the amount of mosquitoes on your property by clearing areas with standing water. Symptoms of dengue fever typically begin within a week after a bite from an infected mosquito and may include fever, joint or muscle pains, headache or pain behind the eyes, and rash.
“As dengue fever is an illness that can be transmitted by virus-carrying mosquitoes, we are strongly encouraging the public to join us in taking immediate preventative measures to minimize its reach,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “Individuals who have experienced symptoms related to the fever should contact their healthcare provider immediately and avoid further exposure to mosquitoes.”
Identified cases of locally transmitted dengue fever have been isolated to the Island of Hawaii. The DOH is also investigating a potential case on Oahu that was likely contracted by the individual while traveling abroad. This individual has not recently traveled to the Big Island. Travelers to areas with infected mosquitoes where dengue fever is endemic are at the highest risk of acquiring the disease.