East Hawaii News

Two Infectious as Dengue Fever Count Rises

January 14, 2016, 5:32 PM HST
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Jason Dela Cruz speaks at Thursday community meeting. Photo: Jamilia Epping.

Jason Dela Cruz speaks at Thursday community meeting. Photo: Jamilia Epping.

Two individuals on the Big Island who have confirmed cases of dengue fever remain infectious, as of Thursday afternoon.

The Hawai’i Department of Health notes that the individuals have onset of illness dates between Jan. 6 and Jan. 8, and are the only two confirmed individuals known to authorities to be currently at an infectious stage of the disease.

Three new cases of dengue were also confirmed within the past day. One of those cases involves a visitor to the island, increasing the total number of visitors infected during the outbreak to 21.

On Wednesday, Hawai’I County officials announced the Big Island’s third area closure as a result of dengue and the first in East Hawai’i. Waipio Valley was closed at about 2:30 p.m. and follows the closure of Hookena Beach Park in early November and Miloli’i in late December.

Access to Waipio is currently limited to area residents only. Hawai’i County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira said Wednesday that the closure was conducted as a precaution.

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The overall count of 218 confirmed cases stretching back to September includes 216 individuals who are no longer infectious. Those onset of illness dates for those individuals ranges from Sept. 11 to Jan. 3.

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Along with the 216 recovered individuals, DOH officials note that 893 cases, at one point listed as “suspected cases,” have been excluded from the overall count. This number includes nine cases excluded from the count in the past 24 hours.

Community meetings will be held in both Hilo and Kona on a weekly basis through February.

Hilo sessions will take place on Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. at the State Office Building, located on Aupuni Street. Kona sessions will be held at the same time but at the West Hawai’i Civic Center, Mayor’s Conference Room.

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Beginning on Jan. 19, weekly sessions will also be held at Yano Hall in Captain Cook on Tuesdays at 12:30 p.m.

The community meetings will provide updates and answers to questions from the community about the dengue fever outbreak on the Big Island, as well as education about the prevalence, transmission, and symptoms of dengue fever, along with outbreak response efforts, how to interpret case counts and maps, and the best ways to “Fight the Bite.”

During Thursday’s meeting in Hilo, Jason Dela Cruz of the DOH’s Hawai’i District Health Office gave an overview of the current dengue fever numbers, the joint response between the state and county on dealing with the outbreak, and what the community can do to prevent further spreading of the illness.

A community meeting will be held Thursday evening for the Miloli’i community. The meeting will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Miloli’i Beach Park pavilion. Various departments will be present to discuss the current outbreak and measures to “Fight the Bite.”

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

Those interested 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 are located in East Hawai‘i or 322-4877 in West Hawai‘i. If an individual is currently ill and concerned 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.

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