East Hawaii News

Ige Declares State of Emergency on Mosquito Born-Illnesses

February 12, 2016, 2:25 PM HST
* Updated February 12, 3:10 PM
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Governor David Ige has signed a statewide emergency proclamation in response to the Big Island’s dengue fever outbreak and mosquito-born illnesses in the state.

The measure covers not only the dengue outbreak but also acts as a preventative measure against the zika virus.

“This proclamation is really about being prepared and positioning the state to prevent these vector-borne diseases in each and every county,” Governor Ige said in a news conference Friday afternoon.

Money released under the proclamation will fund ten roles on the Big Island, including one entomologist, a communication specialist, and eight vector control staff. The staff members will allow for the resources that have been “borrowed” by the Big Island to their home counties in efforts to be ready for potential infectious, according to the governor.

One new case of dengue fever was confirmed on the Big Island Friday, bringing the total number of cases to 245 since the outbreak began.

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Only one case remains “potentially infectious,” according to the DOH. The other 244 cases are no longer at risk of spreading the disease to mosquitoes. DOH lists the “potentially infectious” case with an onset of illness on Feb. 6.

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A total of 231 cases of dengue have been within individuals listed as Big Island residents. Another 24 cases have impacted visitors.

Since the initial known case of dengue in September, 1,192 potential cases have been excluded from the overall count. These cases have been excluded based on negative test results and/or lack of case criteria.

Waipio Valley Lookout was closed Friday morning as DOH personnel proactively sprayed the area, according to Hawai’i County Civil Defense.

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Community meetings are being held through the month of February on a weekly basis in both East and West Hawai’i.

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

Tuesday sessions are being held at Yano Hall in Captain Cook, beginning at 12:30 p.m.

The community meetings 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.”

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.

Civil Defense suggests the following to aid in reducing potential mosquito breeding areas around homes and businesses:

  • Remove or eliminate standing water that provides sources for mosquito breeding such as buckets or puddles.
  • Fix leaky faucets and outdoor hoses that are dripping water.
  • Treat bromeliads and other plants that hold water with a larvacide or chlorine bleach solution.
  • Clean gutters to allow water to drain freely.
  • Repair screens and windows to help keep mosquitoes out.
  • Dispose of old tires at no charge at county transfer stations islandwide.

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

Stay with BigIslandNow.com as we continue to track dengue on the Big Island.

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