Hawaiʻi County Mayor Declares State of Emergency in Wake of Dengue Fever Outbreak

February 8, 2016, 1:47 PM HST · Updated February 9, 5:34 AM
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Hawaiʻi County Mayor Billy Kenoi. File image.

Hawaiʻi County Mayor Billy Kenoi. File image.

Hawaiʻi County Mayor Billy Kenoi authorized a state of emergency for the county in an effort to prevent the continued spread of the dengue fever virus on Hawaiʻi Island.

A proclamation signed by Mayor Kenoi today effectively suspends a law currently in place relating to tires (which could serve as mosquito breeding grounds) at landfills to the extent necessary to effectively control and eliminate the dengue fever virus on the island.

The proclamation further states that “reducing the mosquito population and protecting people from mosquito bites is the only way to break the cycle of dengue infection and transmission.”

Cluster of Locally Acquired Dengue on Hawaiʻi Island:

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As of Feb. 8, 2016, the total number of confirmed cases of dengue fever on Hawaiʻi island had increased to 251, according to the state Department of Health.  Only two of those cases involve potentially infectious individuals, with illness onset dates of Jan. 29, 2016 and Feb. 1, 2016.  All other confirmed cases are no longer infectious, according to the DOH.

The department also notes that of the confirmed cases, 227 involved Hawaiʻi Island residents and 24 were visitors.  206 cases have been in adults; and 45 have been in children under the age of 18.

The proclamation notes that state and county officials continue to undertake mosquito control measures and to engage in public education and outreach efforts.

Dengue Report on Maui – Resident Traveled to Area Where Dengue is Endemic:

Earlier this month, the state Department of Health told Maui Now that they had confirmed a case of dengue fever in a resident of Maui that recently traveled to a country where dengue fever is endemic.

Health officials tell Maui Now that there are no other dengue cases related to the case.

“Since October, there have been three imported cases of dengue fever reported on Maui when individuals picked up the illness in another country while traveling,” said Janice Okubo, Public Information Officer for the State Department of Health.

It is important to note that the Maui cases were NOT locally acquired.  Each year the state receives a number of reports of imported cases of dengue fever.

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