Two Cases of Dengue Fever Confirmed on Big Island of Hawaii – Investigating Others

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is investigating two confirmed and four probable cases of dengue fever in Hawaii residents and visitors that was locally-acquired on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Mosquito Bite

Further testing and confirmation at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is pending. The department sent out a medical advisory to Hawaii County clinicians earlier today to alert them and urge them to report suspect dengue fever cases.

“Although dengue is not endemic to Hawaii, we do have the mosquito species capable of transmitting the disease,” stated State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “It’s likely an infected traveler infected the local mosquito population, which led to this cluster, so we want the public to be aware of this mosquito-borne disease and the steps they can take to prevent infection.”

“Our local environmental health assessments have not found significant mosquito activity in the affected area,” added Hawaii District Health Officer Aaron Ueno. “As a precautionary measure the department is conducting mosquito prevention activities such as spraying with consent from property owners.”

Symptoms of dengue fever typically begin within a week after a bite by an infected mosquito and can include fever, joint or muscle pains, headache or pain behind the eyes, and rash. Persons who have the above symptoms should contact their healthcare provider and avoid further exposure to mosquitoes, which is also the best means of prevention.

Dengue virus is most often transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Travelers to areas with infected mosquitoes where dengue fever is endemic are at the highest risk of acquiring the disease. Mosquitoes breed in areas of standing water (such as planters, old tires and pet water bowls). Use mosquito repellents containing 20–30 percent DEET and wear long sleeves and pants in areas where mosquito-borne disease is a concern. For tips on mosquito control, go to http://health.hawaii.gov/san/files/2013/06/Vector-mosquitohandout.pdf.

For more information on dengue fever, visit the DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/dib/disease/dengue/.

Big Island Police Complete Investigation Into 2013 Hilo Murder

Hawaiʻi Island police detectives have completed their investigation into a 2013 murder in Hilo.
HPDBadgeIn response to a 5:19 a.m. call on January 7, 2013, South Hilo patrol officers found 38-year-old Lloyd Rubio of Hilo with a stab wound at a home on the 1400 block of Kaumana Drive. He was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where he died at 7:11 a.m.

That evening, detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section arrested 37-year-old Cherie Sueko Moskwa of Hilo on suspicion of second-degree murder.

Two days later, after conferring with Hawaiʻi County prosecutors, detectives released Moskwa from police custody pending further investigation.

Additional follow-ups and analysis were recently completed. The case has been routed to the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney for review.

Coast Guard Suspends Search for Missing Kona Woman

The Coast Guard suspended the search late Wednesday for missing 33-year-old Amber Savant of Kona presumed swept out to sea while free diving near Kapoho Bay, Big Island.

Amber Savant

Amber Savant

The Coast Guard will assist Hawaii County Fire Department efforts Thursday.

“To suspend an active search and rescue case without definitive resolution is one of the most difficult decisions to make,” said Cmdr. Arex Avanni, deputy commanding officer at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “We saturated the area in an attempt to locate Ms. Savant, but pending further developments, we have decided to suspend the active search. Our prayers go out to her loved ones.”

On-scene assets searched approximately 4,516 square miles and deployed three self-locating datum marker buoys.

Involved in the search were an HC-130 Hercules airplane crew and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, the crews of USCGC Kittiwake and USCGC Galveston Island. Hawaii County Fire Department jet ski and helicopter crews searched as well as a Navy MH-60 helicopter crew from the 37th Helicopter Squadron out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe.

On-scene crews recovered a spear-gun, fins, gloves, snorkel, mask, weight belt with knife and five pounds of dive weights from Kapoho Bay during the search effort. All were identified as belonging to Savant.

Watchstanders at the Sector received a report at 2:52 p.m., Sunday, alerting them to the situation. They immediately launched the Dolphin helicopter crew and issued an urgent marine information broadcast requesting the assistance of any mariners in the area.

Lawmakers Visit Big Island – Focus on Agriculture, Medical Care and Economic Development

Members of the House Finance Committee, chaired by Representative Sylvia Luke, toured various sites on Hawaii Island to view first hand several projects and programs supported by the Legislature. The site visits provided committee members first hand insight into the status of ongoing projects and on other needs of the district.

House Finance Committee visits Waimea.  Photos Courtesy of House Majority Communications

House Finance Committee visits Waimea. Photos Courtesy of House Majority Communications

Representatives Richard Onishi and Nicole Lowen who serve on the Finance Committee were joined by fellow Big Island lawmakers Clift Tsuji, Mark Nakashima, Cindy Evans and Richard Creagan on a wide range of activities that included a status update and site visit of Hilo Medical Center.

Committee members visit Ookala Dairy Farm.  Photos Courtesy of House Majority Communications

Committee members visit Ookala Dairy Farm. Photos Courtesy of House Majority Communications

The committee visited Hamakua Mushrooms, Ookala Dairy Farm, Big Island Beef and met with Kamuela farmers to discuss and learn about their issues and concerns.  The legislators also received a briefing by Hawaiian Homestead farmers participating in the Waimea Regional Community and Economic Development Program.

In Kona the committee toured projects at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii including the Taylor Shell Fish Farm and Cyanotech.