Schatz, CDC Official Discuss Big Island Dengue
Efforts to combat the Big Island dengue fever outbreak were among the topics of discussion between Dr. Thomas Frieden, the Director for the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and United States Senator Brian Schatz on Thursday.
The pair talked at an Appropriations Committee hearing, where Senator Schatz called for quick approval of additional funding. He asked Frieden to coordinate with state and local governments to improve mosquito control programs to help stop the spread of not only dengue, but also the potential for zika.
“Dengue is a public health emergency on Hawai‘i Island. With the emerging threat of a possible Zika crisis, we need to act fast,” said Senator Schatz. “There is no doubt we need additional funding, but we also need the CDC’s commitment to address dengue and the threat of Zika simultaneously in Hawai‘i.”
Senator Schatz was among 45 Senate Democrats last week that sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging a coordinate interagency response plan to address the spread of Zika in the United States and abroad.
President Obama earlier this week asked Congress for $1.8 billion in emergency funding to aid in the combat against the zika virus.
As of Thursday afternoon, a total of 254 dengue fever cases have been confirmed on the Big Island, including two cases that remain “potentially infectious,” meaning the individuals infected could be at risk of spreading the disease to mosquitoes.