East Hawaii News

Hookena Beach Park to Reopen as Dengue Count Sits at 260

February 26, 2016, 2:38 PM HST
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An Aedes aegypti mosquito is pictured here. The mosquito is one of two in Hawai'i known to spread the dengue virus. Hawai'i Department of Health photo.

An Aedes aegypti mosquito is pictured here. The mosquito is one of two in Hawai’i known to spread the dengue virus. Hawai’i Department of Health photo.

After being closed for nearly three months, Hookena Beach Park will reopen next Tuesday.

Hawai’i County Civil Defense said Friday that no confirmed cases have been associated with the beach park since Nov. 11.

After numerous spraying operations and treatments of Hookena, Civil Defense says the County will be reopening the park for normal use, including camping.

For the second day in a row, no new cases of dengue fever were confirmed on the Big Island.

The dengue count remains at 260 after rising by only one case this week, one of the slowest weeks the Big Island has seen since news broke in late October of last year of a case that had been discovered a month earlier.

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No cases are currently listed as “potentially infectious.”

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On Monday, the dengue count sat at last Friday’s number of 259, and one case was at risk of infecting mosquitoes. Tuesday replayed the prior day’s numbers.

By Wednesday, one new case had been confirmed, but no cases were being listed by the Hawai’i Department of Health as being “potentially infectious.”

Wednesday’s number stuck for the rest of the week, with no new cases or “potentially infectious” cases reported on Thursday or Friday.

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DOH lists the most recent onset of illness as Feb. 13.

“Although the number and frequency of new confirmed cases appears to be on the decline, the outbreak is not anticipated to be considered over anytime in the near future,” Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveria said Friday afternoon in a radio message.

In total, 45 cases have been excluded from the case count since Monday, including seven in the past day. Cases excluded from the count either had negative test results and/or lacked case criteria.

Waipio Valley Access Road remains closed and limited to valley residents only due to the ongoing outbreak. Milolii also remains closed.

DOH, Civil Defense, Community Response Teams, and community partners began door-to-door dengue education outreach in Kailua-Kona last week.

County officials said the outreach is a proactive and preventative effort to inform residents, visitors, and businesses about ways to reduce exposure to dengue and to promote the “Fight the Bite” campaign.

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.

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