BREAKING: Two Lab Confirmed Cases of Zika on Maui

August 12, 2016, 4:15 PM HST · Updated August 12, 5:29 PM
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The Maui District Health Office and the County of Maui jointly announce two lab confirmed cases of Zika on island.

Zika is spread when a sick person gets bit by a mosquito, which later bites another person. Evidence suggests that Zika can also be transmitted through sexual contact if a man has been infected. The best way to prevent Zika is to take mosquito control measures, and to avoid getting bitten. Some who carry Zika do not show symptoms, and in others, illness may last from several days to over a week.

“Laboratory results came in this past week showing that a few Maui residents returning from trips overseas to Zika infected areas are infected. These are what we call imported cases. They might have spread the virus to our mosquitoes which may then start a local outbreak. Since the transmitting mosquito is a dawn to dusk biter, we have been searching house to house the areas where the cases live and visited on Maui. We are looking for additional human cases and looking for mosquitoes and breeding site,” said Dr. Lorrin Pang, Maui District Health Officer. “Since we do not have a drug cure of vaccine yet, we must rely on mosquito control. The best way to do this is to eliminate mosquito breeding sites and make sure people avoid getting mosquito bites.”

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Dr. Pang also adds that, “As the cases increase worldwide, we can expect more imported cases to Maui and we ask for everyone’s kokua to report suspected illnesses as well as mosquito control. We don’t want local outbreaks like we had in 2001 for dengue.”

“If you receive a flyer or letter from the Department of Health, please be sure to read the information carefully, as this public health issue affects us all,” said Mayor Alan Arakawa. “This is the time for our community to step up efforts to ‘fight the bite,’ by seeing a doctor if you have even mild symptoms, especially if you have traveled to parts of the world where there are outbreaks of these viruses.”

The public is advised that anyone who has traveled outside the country and has mild to severe symptoms such as fever, joint pain, rash or pink eye to see their physician. All residents and visitors should avoid getting mosquito bites by using repellent and wearing light-colored clothing with long sleeves, pants, shoes and socks when outdoors.

Residents should fix broken window and door screens at home, and get rid of standing water in the yard. Old tires, buckets, toys and plants, especially bromeliads, can become breeding sites for mosquitoes. A mixture of soapy water (1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap to 16 ounces of water in a spray bottle) can be sprayed on backyard plants to control mosquito larvae.

For more tips on how to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne viruses, visit www.mauiready.org.

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