East Hawaii News

Dengue Count Reaches 101, County Preps for CDC Visit

November 25, 2015, 4:48 PM HST
* Updated November 26, 3:25 PM
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Wednesday’s dengue fever count crossed the century mark, reaching 101 confirmed cases of the illness, according to the Hawai’i Department of Health.

In response to the growing number of confirmed cases, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases division will be on the Big Island from Dec. 1-3 at the request of the County of Hawai’i.

Dr. Lyle Petersen will arrive on the island next week, less than a month after the Hawai’i Department of Health and Hawai’i County Civil Defense notified the public of dengue fever cases that had been reported.

Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira said that the request for Dr. Petersen’s visit was made through the Hawai’i Emergency Management Agency on Monday, following the proper protocol for receiving assistance.

“He felt that what was ongoing was appropriate, but at the same time, I discussed with him what would be an appropriate request for assistance,” Oliveira said about what was currently being done on the island.

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“There are some people saying ‘why don’t you ask CDC to bring down a lab? Why don’t they bring down teams for other things?’ Based on what information he has from the Department of Health and the information I shared with him, it doesn’t warrant those kinds of resources,” Oliveira explained.

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What Dr. Petersen will do while here, Oliveira said, is do an “independent assessment of the outbreak” and the operations of response personnel to see if everything is being done correctly or if more can be done.

Of the 101 confirmed cases, 88 have been found in residents and 13 in visitors. Adults make up 78 of the cases, and the rest involve individuals under the age of 18.

The onset of illness ranges from Sep. 11 to Nov. 17.

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Members of the County Council will hold a special session on Wednesday, Dec, 2 to discuss the dengue fever situation, called for by councilman Aaron Chung. Oliveira said that he was requested to be in attendance, along with DOH director Dr. Virginia Pressler.

Wednesday’s session will begin at 1 p.m. Both Oliveira and Dr. Pressler will update members of the public and council members on the latest information surrounding the outbreak.

Symptoms of dengue fever include fever, joint or muscle paints, headache or pain behind the eyes, and rash.

Those interesting in obtaining general information about the current Big Island dengue fever investigation should call 2-1-1 and talk with Aloha United Way.

Anyone who thinks they may have contracted dengue fever on the Big Island should call 933-0912 if they’re located in East Hawai’i or 322-4877 in West Hawai’i. If an individual is currently ill and worried that they may have contracted dengue fever, they should contact their primary care physician.

Mosquito concerns should be reported to 974-6010 in East Hawai’i or 322-1513 in West Hawai’i.

For more information, visit the DOH website.

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