The State of Hawaii’s Department of Health is investigating a cluster of locally-acquired cases of dengue fever on Hawaii Island. Dengue is not endemic to Hawaii. However, it is intermittently imported from endemic areas by infected travelers. This is the first cluster of locally-acquired dengue fever since an outbreak on Oahu in 2011.
The Deparment of health recently launched a “Fight the Bite” campaign in order to educate the public about the disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes.
“The health and safety of our community and visitors is paramount, and the Department of Health is working collaboratively with all of our partners — including fellow state agencies, the Counties, healthcare providers, business leaders, nonprofit service providers and more — to address this important situation and end the spread of dengue fever in Hawaii as quickly as possible,” said Virginia Pressler, M.D., director of the Hawaii State Department of Health. “In order to keep Hawaii safe and dengue-free, we are asking the community for their help in following the easy tips and suggestions shared through our cam paign and joining us as together we Fight the Bite!”
Dengue fever is spread through mosquito contact. Mosquitoes carrying the virus from an infected individual can spread it to another through mosquito bites. Travelers to areas with infected mosquitoes where dengue fever is endemic are at the highest risk of acquiring the disease. Symptoms of dengue fever typically begin within a week after a bite from an infected mosquito and may include fever, joint or muscle pains, headache or pain behind the eyes, and rash.
The state has issued a map showing the places on the island where people are mostly likely to be infected.
For more information, read this Frequently Asked Questions document from the state of Hawaii.