East Hawaii News

Dengue Count Holds at 263, DOH Urges Precautions for Merrie Monarch Participants

March 24, 2016, 3:30 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.

No new cases of dengue fever were confirmed by the Hawai’i Department of Health on Thursday, leaving the confirmed case count at 263.

On Wednesday, one new dengue case was confirmed by DOH with an onset of illness of March 17. The case remains listed by DOH as “potentially infectious” to mosquitoes.

In total, 237 Big Island residents and 26 island visitors have been infected with the dengue virus.

Waipio Valley reopened last Saturday after closing on Jan. 13. The Muliwai hiking trail on the far cliff side of Waipio Valley and its campground in the next valley, Waimanu, both also reopened earlier this week. The Department of Land and Natural Resources closed the areas after the County and DOH’s decision to close Waipio.

Waipio Valley was the last of three locations to reopen. Hookena was closed in November and reopened on March 1, and Milolii was closed on Dec. 24 and reopened on March 11.

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Since the outbreak began last year, DOH has excluded a total of 1,526 potential cases from the overall count. Nine of those cases were excluded within the past day. Cases excluded either those who tested negative for the virus or did not meet case criteria.

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As the annual Merrie Monarch Festival rolls around, DOH is asking residents and travelers to the island to be extra careful and protect themselves from being bitten by mosquitoes.

Vector Control teams are taking preventative measures by surveying and treating areas near both the Afook Chinen Civic Auditorium and the Edith Kanaka’ole Stadium

“People from all over the world come to Hawai’i to celebrate the tradition of hula during the Merrie Monarch Festival, so we are doing our due diligence and taking proactive measures now to reduce the risks of both imported and local cases of mosquito-borne illnesses,” said Keith Kawaoka, deputy director of Environmental Health. “We continue to work with our county partners to coordinate and implement best practices for mosquito abatement and prevention.”

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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.

Hawai’i County 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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