3 More Confirmed Cases of Dengue Fever on the Big Island of Hawaii

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases has risen by 3 more cases since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 163.

Mosquito Bite

As of December 18, 2015*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 3 new cases of dengue fever.  Currently, as many as 4 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
4 Illness onset 12/8/15 to 12/13/15
Cases no longer infectious
159 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 12/13/15
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)

Of the confirmed cases, 145 are Hawaii Island residents and 18 are visitors.
129 cases have been adults; 34 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 12/13/15.

As of today, a total of 644 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

For a map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases, click HERE**. (Updated December 16, 2015)

For Hawaii Island Dengue Fever Unified Command Updates, click HERE. (Updated December 2, 2015)

Interim Assessment of the Response by the Hawaii State Department of Health to the Dengue Outbreak on the Island of Hawaii

HDOH continues to routinely monitor for cases of imported dengue infection on ALL islands and will continue to have Vector Control perform mosquito site assessments and abatement as needed. Since the beginning of our current investigation on Hawaii island, two imported dengue fever cases have been confirmed (one on Oahu and one on Hawaii), and one imported chikungunya case (on Hawaii) has been confirmed. These cases are not associated with the Hawaii island investigation.

November 25th Lava Breakout Advances – New Vent Opens on Northeast Flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

The breakout that began as a rupture from the tube supplying the June 27th lava flow continues to advance slowly to the northeast and has reached the forest.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

While the front of the flow is about 3 km (1.9 miles) from Puʻu ʻŌʻō, it has a long way to go to catch up to the surface flows that have persisted for the last several weeks about 3 km (1.9 miles) farther to the northeast.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

A new vent opened on the northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō during the first week of December. This is the incandescent, fuming trio of holes just below and to the left of center in the accompanying image. While this spot happens to coincide with the trend of a tube that was last active in early 2014, aerial views into the opening suggest lava is welling up from below and not “flowing” like lava in a tube (there is no apparent lava reappearing downslope). Thus, our current interpretation is that this is a new vent that happened to open into the area of this abandoned tube as lava worked its way to the surface. Our interpretation may change, however, as our view into the vent improves, assuming that the opening continues to widen.

This is a view of the new vent from the ground, showing the thin roof that caps the brightly incandescent cavity below.

Skylight onto lava pond on northeast spillway

Skylight onto lava pond on northeast spillway

Views from the air show the cavity to be much larger than the current opening, probably extending at least as far as the sulfur staining in the foreground and back under the mound to the right. Right: A bubbling lava surface could be seen about 5 m (16 ft) below the opening of the new vent when viewed from the air. The size of the opening will likely grow with time, as the narrow septa between the individual holes collapse.

Hawaii Island Community Members Critical in Transporting 1,300 Pound Stranded, Endangered Whale

Scientists are applauding the efforts of a Hawaii Island resident and an education specialist from the DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) for their efforts to transport a 1,300-pound endangered false killer whale from Hawai‘i Island to Oahu.

False Killer Whale Dead

By recovering the whale’s body, researchers are given the opportunity to determine the cause of death, which can help protect the species in the future.

In early November, resident Rodney Kuahiwinui sighted a dead whale at South Point near Kau and immediately called John Kahiapo from DAR.

Through text messages that included pictures of the whale, marine mammal experts were able to identify the animal as a highly endangered false killer whale.

Kau is one the most remote areas in the state, with many sections that are hard to access. Fortunately, Kuahiwinui raises cattle on Hawaiian Home Lands and owns the heavy equipment needed to transport the whale. Using an engine hoist, he was able to lift the animal and place it onto his flatbed truck. With his family, he made the 4-hour journey to Kona where the animal was transported by Transair to Honolulu for examination.

Scientists were able to determine that the adult female, first documented in 2004 and re-sighted eight times near Oahu and Hawai‘i Island, died from abnormal blood clot formations in the heart and lungs.

“Without the unwavering efforts of Rodney and John, we would not have been able to find out why this animal died,” said Dr. Kristi West, head of Hawaii Pacific University’s stranding program.  “From my perspective, they really are heroes.”

Only three Hawaiian false killer whales have been reported stranded in the past 18 years. “With less than 200 individuals alive today, every piece of information is critical,” says Dr. West. “If we want to understand the threats facing these animals, we need the public’s help.”

People asked to call 1-888-256-9840 or local authorities immediately if they observe a dolphin or whale stranded on the beach or unusually close to shore.

Hawaii Pacific University typically responds to 20 strandings of whales and dolphins per year in the Hawaiian Islands. Approximately 20% of all reported cetacean strandings in the main Hawaiian Islands represent endangered whales.

“Today we are fortunate enough to see whales traveling in the area,” said Rodney. “We have to do everything we can to help make sure they are still here for future generations.”

DLNR was recently awarded nearly $1.2 million from the federal government to support the conservation and recovery of Hawai‘i’s endangered false filler whales.

For more information on false killer whales in Hawai‘i visit: http://www.cascadiaresearch.org/Hawaii/falsekillerwhale.htm