HAWAII ISLAND – The number of confirmed cases of locally acquired dengue fever on Hawaii Island has jumped to 72. As of 10:30 a.m. today (Wednesday, Nov. 18), the Department of Health says 62 of the 72 cases are Hawaii residents and 10 are visitors. 53 cases have been adults; Nineteen have been children under 18 years of age. The onset of the mosquito-borne illness has ranged between Sept. 11 and November 12, 2015.
The state also says that as of today, a total of 103 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.
The Department of Health may be conducting spraying for mosquitoes at various locations in the Kona, Hilo, and Puna areas today. The only dengue fever “hotspot” to be identified by health officials is in South Kona. However, residents from around the entire Big Island are being urged to take precautions against mosquito bites.
This weekend, the DOH – with support from the County of Hawaii and the Department of Education – will be conducting preventive spraying or treating of areas around the following school campuses:
- Konawaena High, Middle and Elementary Schools
- Honaunau School
- Hookena School
- Hilo High School
- Hilo Intermediate School
- Waiakea Intermediate and Elementary Schools
Civil defense says these school campuses are being treated as a preventative measure and based on proximity to confirmed cases in the area. “There are no cases directly related to any of the school facilities or campuses,” civil defense says.
What is Dengue Fever?
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease that is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Dengue cannot be spread directly from person to person. Symptoms typically begin in seven days and include high fever, headache, nausea, muscle aches, bone and joint pain and a red rash. There are no existing vaccines to prevent the illness or any specific treatment for dengue fever, however bed rest and acetaminophen are recommended.
Dengue Fever in Hawaii
Dengue fever is typically not endemic or common in Hawaii, though it can be transmitted to mosquitoes that have bitten infected travelers coming from endemic areas, including Puerto Rico, Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
Currently, the areas of Hookena and Honaunau on the island of Hawaii have been identified as areas of concern for dengue transmission, although the entire island is considered to be at risk. While the current risk of dengue spreading to other islands is low, all islands should take measures to reduce mosquito breeding grounds.
Help us Fight the Bite!
The Hawaii State Department of Health has launched “Fight the Bite,” a comprehensive public education campaign to inform the public and urge their help in keeping Hawaii dengue-free.
Although spraying or treating of areas by DOH’s Vector Control is ongoing, the most effective method of reducing the spread — and ultimately eliminating dengue — is to minimize, or prevent, being bitten by an infected mosquito.
To prevent catching or spreading dengue, apply mosquito repellant, wear light-colored long-sleeved shirts and pants, and avoid areas with high mosquito concentration during the early morning and late afternoon periods when mosquito activity is greatest. Removing areas where mosquitoes can lay eggs is also key. Clear all areas with standing water and consider spraying potential areas with heavy mosquito populations with insecticides. If you are ill and worried that you might have dengue fever, contact your healthcare provider.
Phone: Aloha United Way 2-1-1
Fight the Bite Flyer: http://bit.ly/fightthebiteflyer
Social media hashtag: #FightTheBite
Clinician Information: http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/updates-and-resources-for-clinicians/.
Suspected Cases: Contact DOH, Disease Outbreak Control Division at 808-586-4586
LATEST NEWS: The Hawaii Island dengue fever outbreak