New Locally Acquired Case of Dengue on Big Island
The Hawaiʻi State Department of Health confirmed today a new locally-acquired case of dengue fever on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. The case comes after nearly two weeks of no newly identified infectious cases related to the current outbreak. Health officials say the individual does not have a history of recent travel outside of Hawaiʻi, so the new case has been added to the local outbreak count.
“The same response work conducted during the height of the outbreak is continuing,” said Keith Kawaoka, deputy director of Environmental Health in a department press release. “We haven’t let up on our response efforts even with the slowdown in cases. The department is recruiting eight additional vector control positions on Hawaiʻi Island to increase and sustain effective mosquito abatement work.”
“We have been cautiously optimistic about the slowdown of cases over the last few weeks,” said Darryl Oliveira, administrator of the Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense Agency and Incident Commander of the Hawaiʻi Island dengue response. “Our plan has always been to continue to be vigilant and maintain our efforts to work with the community to protect our residents and visitors through education, outreach, and mosquito abatement,” he said.
Since Sept. 11, 2015, there have been a total of 261 cases of locally-acquired dengue fever related to the current outbreak.
“We continue to remind people who believe they may be ill with dengue fever to come forward and get tested,” added Oliveira. “With every outbreak there is a degree of under-reporting, so it’s important that people report their illness to allow the Department of Health to respond quickly.”
The Hawaiʻi Department of Health is continuing to receive dengue fever samples and complete testing routinely within 24 hours Monday through Friday. The department’s Vector Control staff also continues to conduct assessments within 24 hours of a reported case and when warranted follow up with spraying at case residences and other areas of concern.
“It is crucial for our community, residents and visitors alike, to remain alert and diligent in our efforts to prevent mosquito bites and reduce mosquito breeding areas,” said Kawaoka. “The fight against mosquitoes is far from over. Even as this outbreak is winding down, we need to continue working together to fight the bite.”
DOH recommends that residents take the following precautions to “fight the bite” and eliminate potential mosquito breeding grounds around their homes to reduce the threat of dengue fever:
- Eliminate standing water in buckets, containers and puddles around your home;
- Fix leaky faucets and outdoor hoses that may be dripping water;
- Treat bromeliads and other plants that hold water with a larvicide or solution of water and liquid dish washing soap (one gallon of water to 6 ounces of soap);
- Clear storm gutters and other outdoor drains of leaves and lawn cuttings;
- Repair screens and jalousie windows to keep mosquitoes out; and
- Dispose of old tires and anything else that may collect and hold standing water.
For further recommendations on how to take precautions against mosquitoes and dengue fever, visit DOH’s Disease Outbreak Control Division’s website.