- CASE COUNT: There are 130 confirmed cases of locally-acquired dengue fever on Hawaii Island. The number surpasses the number of cases reported in the previous dengue outbreak on Maui in 2001. It is the biggest outbreak since Hawaii became a state (there were World War II era outbreaks in Waikiki). Of the confirmed cases, the Hawaii Department of Health says 114 are Hawaii Island residents and 16 are visitors. 100 cases have been adults; 30 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 11/28/15. As of today, a total of 344 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.
- PRESS CONFERENCE: A press conference was held in Hilo today, introducing media to Dr. Lyle Petersen, director of the CDC Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, who is currently on the Big Island to assess efforts and share his analysis with officials. He said CDC is not here to take over the handling of the outbreak, but rather to provide support. A CDC entomologist and technician are also on site and are anticipated to be here for two weeks. Dr. Peterson said the state/county response to the outbreak has been “timely, well considered and appropriate”. Peterson said he cannot predict how long the outbreak will last. Previous experience (Maui 2001) suggests the outbreak will last for months. Perterson calls the increasing case count a “trickle” and not a major outbreak. He credits the behavior of the Aedes albopictus mosquito – believed to be the primary vector – with that slow spread. The more aggressive Aedes aegypti mosquito is found on the Kona side of the island, but CDC would like to find out if the mosquito is contributing to the current outbreak. Peterson leaves the island tomorrow evening.
- SPRAYING: The Department of Health is conducting spraying in various areas of South Kona and Puna today, civil defense reports.
- HO’OKENA CLOSURE: Ho’okena Beach park remains closed and officials will post more signage in an attempt to deter people from camping at the South Kona dengue fever hot spot.
- MEETING: A Community Information Meeting on the Dengue outbreak will be conducted tonight at 6:30PM at the Pahoa High School Cafeteria.
VIDEO by Hawaii247.com
Dengue Fever information update
The State Department of Health continues to work with other state and county agencies on the issue of the Dengue Fever outbreak. As of 1:00 today the Department of Health had reported 130 confirmed cases originating on Hawaii Island. These cases include 114 residents and 16 visitors.
Dengue fever is a virus that is transmitted or spread by infected mosquitoes and not directly from person to person. Dengue Fever is not endemic or common to Hawaii. It was likely introduced by a person who contracted the virus in another area of the world and became infectious while in Hawaii.
Because dengue fever is only transmitted by mosquitoes, the Department of Health is spraying and treating areas with high mosquito presence and confirmed cases. The Department of Health is conducting spraying in various areas of South Kona and Puna today.
Although spraying and treatment of areas is ongoing, the most effective method to reduce the spread and eliminate Dengue is to fight the bite. Minimize or prevent the possibility of being bitten by an infected mosquito by wearing clothing that minimizes exposed skin, use mosquito repellant and avoid activities in areas of high mosquito concentration during the early morning and late afternoon periods when mosquito activity is greatest.
In addition, persons feeling ill and having a fever should remain indoors to prevent the possibility of being bitten and infecting mosquitoes.
A Community Information Meeting on the Dengue outbreak will be conducted tonight at 6:30PM at the Pahoa High School Cafeteria.
The community is encouraged to attend these meetings to receive information on the ongoing outbreak.
For additional information on Dengue Fever and preventing the spread of Dengue Fever, go to health.hawaii.gov or call the Department of Health at 974-6001. Everyone’s help and assistance with this outbreak is much needed and appreciated.
LATEST NEWS: The Hawaii Island dengue fever outbreak