Dengue fever light on island

Nearly all confirmed cases are on Maui

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control laboratory has officially confirmed four case of dengue fever on Kaua’i and a total of 59 cases in Hawai’i.

Those figures were through Wednesday. No new cases had been reported by late Thursday.

Forty-nine of the confirmed cases statewide are on Maui, where this most recent outbreak began.

The last dengue fever outbreak in Hawai’i was in 1943, when there were 1,420 confirmed cases, three ending in death.

State Department of Health officials said 272 cases of possible dengue fever were under investigation by Thursday afternoon.

Dengue fever can’t be officially confirmed until lab results are return from Centers for Disease Control (CDC) labarotories on the mainland.

Of the most recent 184 samples tested, “11 were positive for dengue fever and 41 people were ruled out completely. This is good news,” health department director Bruce Anderson said.

Anderson and Dr. Paul Effler, the state’s chief epidemiologist, went to Maui Thursday with Governor Ben Cayetano to gauge progress at the source of the latest spread of dengue fever.

The first confirmed case on Kaua’i, announced late last week, was a Kalaheo man who contracted the disease while on Maui, accordilng to healthofficials.

Dengue is spread by mosquitos, specifically a daytime biter believed to be the Albopictus mosquito. Each of the offending mosquitos may live as long as three months.

There are four strains of dengue, so theoretically, a person can suffer through dengue fever four times.

Symptoms of dengue, which appear in only 25 to 30 percent of those infected with the disease, last about a week to 10 days and include chills and a fever. Medical experts recommend fluids, bed rest and medication that does not include aspirin.

Elderly persons, infants and young children are the most at-risk to contract the disease, which is bred in mosquito larvae in standing pools of water, ponds and even water in pet dishes that isn’t changed frequently.

State vector control crews have been spraying islandwide for the past two weeks in an attempt to control mosquito populations.

On Kaua’i, a community town meeting has been scheduled for next Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Hanalei Elementary School to discuss dengue and control measures.

Health officials will also appear on Ho’ike public access television to preview a major anti-dengue cleanup effort slated for Oct. 29 in Princeville, Kilauea, Anahola and Kalaheo. The cleanup will include removal of bulky items that can collect water, in which would breed.

And 25,000 Kaua’i Electric customers will receive dengue fever brochures with their their next bill.

Public health nurses are also speaking and distributing brochures at seniors’ programs in neighborhood centers this week and next week.

Staff writer Dennis Wilken can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) and


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.