Dengue Numbers Climb, Pediatric Cases Reported
The dengue fever count on the Big Island has risen to 19 confirmed cases.
According to the Hawai’i Department of Health, two of the cases are pediatric. Twelve are reportedly Big Island residents, while seven individuals infected are visitors.
According to DOH, the onset of illness in the cases ranges from Sept. 15 through Oct. 27.
The current outbreak of dengue fever on the Big Island is the first in the state since an outbreak on Oahu in 2011.
Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist, recently told Big Island Now that the Oahu outbreak was considered to be “lucky” as it involved one infected traveler and only four subsequent cases.
An earlier outbreak in Maui in 2001 was much larger, infecting individuals in the “200 range,” according to Dr. Park.
Dr. Park noted that infected individuals in the Oahu outbreak were in an isolated area and the disease eventually “fizzled out.”
“Whether we see a fizzle out on the Big Island or not is so hard to say. A couple things on our side are that we are about to enter into a more dry season, with forecasters predicting that we will have drier weather ahead,” Dr. Park said. “That’s great news in regards to mosquitoes, but it’s not the be all, end all solution.”
Locally, people are advised to take personal precautions, protecting themselves from the threat of being bitten by mosquitoes, in addition to reducing the threat risk by eliminating areas of standing water where mosquito breeding can thrive.
The DOH lists the following suggestions against mosquito reduction at home:
- Remove or empty anything that catches or holds standing water, such as old tires, flowerpots, toys, buckets, and plastic tarps on your premises.
- For plants that hold water, flush with a hose or spray with soapy water once a week.
- Use mosquito-eating fish, such as guppies, in fish ponds, unused swimming pools, or other large containers that cannot be removed or emptied of standing water.
- Install or repair window screens and doors to keep mosquitoes out. Screens are your best protection against a mosquito nuisance in your home.
- Clean your gutters. Remove leaves and debris so water will drain freely
As of Wednesday afternoon, 15 confirmed cases of dengue fever had been reported by DOH.
Confirmation of two infected individuals and four potentially inflected individuals followed on Thursday, Oct. 29.
Earlier this week, DOH confirmed a total of eleven cases, noting that the cases spanned the entire island.
Those worried that they may have contracted dengue fever should call the DOH’s Disease Investigation Branch at (808) 586-8362 or contact their primary care physician.
For more information, visit the DOH website.