East Hawaii News

Big Island Dengue Fever: Count Rises to 136

December 4, 2015, 2:36 PM HST
* Updated December 4, 4:22 PM
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As the work week closes out, an additional six cases of confirmed dengue fever on the Big Island have been added to the count by the Hawai’i Department of Health.

Count numbers trickled in throughout the week, with an overall increase of 24 cases from 112 to 136 between Monday and Friday.

Throughout the duration of the week, an additional 107 cases of potential dengue were excluded as the result of negative dengue test results and/or the lack of meeting case criteria.

Total numbers include 17 visitors infected by the dengue virus and 30 individuals identified by the DOH as “children” or those who are under the age of 18.

County and State officials wrapped up their final public meeting Thursday in a second wave of community focused events that discussed the current dengue outbreak and prevention tips.

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Hawai’i County Civil Defense Administrator and Incident Commander Darryl Oliveira said Thursday that the second group of meetings was intended to provide more thorough coverage of the various communities throughout the island.

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Additional meetings may be scheduled in the future, based on community need, resource availability, and developments in the dengue outbreak.

On Friday, the Big Island Visitors Bureau held a panel at their annual meeting in Kona, providing an oppotunity for officials to speak to tourism industry representatives about the current outbreak and mitigation methods.

Civil Defense released an updated map, indicating specific areas of confirmed cases of dengue. The county map provides pinpointed information regarding areas of “concern,” compared to the DOH’s areas map with general areas marked.

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The map released Friday (above) includes pin points of confirmed cases (orange), suspected cases (yellow), and negative cases (blue and white) of dengue fever. A high number of confirmed cases can be seen along the west coast of the Big Island, as well as in the Hilo and Puna areas.

Civil Defense notes that the map should not exclude areas on the Big Island from mosquito control measures.

Consistent with operations performed over most of the week, spraying operations were being conducted in the South Kona and Puna areas on Friday as a preventative measure towards eliminating mosquito populations.

Dr. Lyle Peterson, Director of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, has been on-island since Wednesday, per request of the county and state. He will return to the mainland Friday evening.

Ryan Hemme, CDC entomologist, and Albert Felix, CDC entomology assistant, will remain on the Big Island over the next two weeks and they assist in the evaluation of the mosquitoes causing the dengue outbreak, conduct training for government officials in the handling of dengue, and help to assess control efforts.

On Thursday, Dr. Peterson said he was “impressed” with the state and county’s coordination in response.

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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