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Hawaii Department of Health Investigating Increase in Mumps Cases

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has been investigating an increasing number of cases of mumps infection statewide. Since March 2017, DOH has become aware of two clusters of cases, together involving at least nine (9) individuals on Oahu, bringing the total number of confirmed cases statewide this year to fourteen (14). To date, none of the infected individuals have required hospitalization.“Healthcare providers have been notified, and because this disease is easily spread, we expect additional cases to be reported in the coming weeks,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “There is no specific treatment for mumps infection and while most people will recover completely, mumps can occasionally cause complications, especially in adults. Cases have been reported in vaccinated individuals, but vaccination is still the best protection against this disease. We encourage everyone to review their immunization record and talk to their healthcare provider about mumps vaccination.”

The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, and prevents most, but not all, cases of mumps. Two doses of the vaccine are 88 percent effective at protecting against mumps and one dose is 78 percent effective. For this reason, being fully accinated is important in helping to protect the public’s health across the state.

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. A classic symptom of mumps is arotitis (swelling of the salivary glands in front of the ears) resulting in a tender, swollen jaw. Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. Some people with mumps have very mild or no symptoms. Persons should seek medical attention immediately if they develop symptoms.

People with mumps are most infectious in the several days before and after the onset of parotitis. The disease is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Transmission can also occur when sharing items, such as cups or eating utensils, or by touching contaminated objects or surfaces and then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth. Persons with mumps should stay home from school or work for nine (9) days after the onset of parotitis to keep from spreading the disease to others.

MMR vaccine is available at local pharmacies. To locate a vaccinating pharmacy in your community, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/vaccines-immunizations/vaccine-locators/ or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

Additional information about mumps can be found on the DOH website at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/disease_listing/mumps/.

Hawaii Department of Health Publishes First LGBT Health Data Report

Today the Department of Health released the first-ever Hawaii Sexual and Gender Minority Health Report at the Building Competency in Serving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Youth Conference. The report reveals that, compared to heterosexual youth and adults, lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth experience many early risk factors that contribute to poorer health outcomes in adulthood.

Click to view report

“We are pleased to share our current research on the health of Hawaii’s sexual and gender minority people,” said Dr. Virginia Pressler, Director of Health. “The new findings will help us tailor programs to better address the health challenges of LGBT people in our State.” Over ten percent of public high school youth identify as LGB or questioning, and three percent of adults aged 18 years and older identify as LGB. An additional 5,600 adults in Hawaii identify as transgender or gender non-conforming.

Sexual and gender minority people experience discrimination and stigma, and are often victims of bullying, family rejection, and lack of acceptance. Consequently, LGB and questioning youth experience greater mental health challenges than heterosexual youth. Half of LGB youth report feeling sad or hopeless, and 60 percent report purposely hurting themselves through behaviors such as cutting or burning themselves. Each year, nearly one in three LGB youth attempt suicide.

LGB youth are also more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors that increase their risk for chronic disease and poor health outcomes later in life. One-quarter of LGB youth report that they currently smoke cigarettes, and nearly half drink alcohol. One in ten LBG youth also say they have injected illicit drugs at least once in their lifetime.

Consistent with the findings on youth, the report shows that LGB adults live with poorer health outcomes than heterosexual adults. Forty percent of LGB adults report having multiple chronic conditions, and they are twice as likely as heterosexual adults to suffer depression.

Women identifying as lesbian or bisexual also experience poorer health outcomes compared to heterosexual women. One-quarter of lesbian or bisexual women have asthma, and they are three times more likely to have a stroke. Men identifying as gay or bisexual are seven times more likely to experience abuse by a partner, and three times more likely to be a victim of rape or attempted rape.

“The report demonstrates that there is much work to be done to understand and address the unique challenges of sexual and gender minority people,” said Lola Irvin, Administrator of the Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division. “By improving the health of at-risk and underserved populations, we will make Hawaii a healthier, happier place for all our citizens.”

To download a copy of the report, please visit https://health.hawaii.gov/surveillance/files/2017/04/HawaiiSexualandGenderMinorityHealthReport.pdf.

Community Based Palliative Care Program Hosts Free Talk

Kupu Care, a Community Based Palliative Care program offered exclusively in East Hawai‘i by Hospice of Hilo, is inviting the public to join them in their free community talk titled, “Why Does Everyone Need an Advance Health Care Directive” on Wednesday May 3rd , from 5:00pm-6:00pm at the organization’s Community Building located at 1011 Waiānuenue Avenue, Hilo.

Kupu Care Patient, Robert Gomes with Wife Phoebe, receiving a health check from Kupu Care Nurse, Julia Lindbergh.

The session will be presented by Kupu Care’s Clinical Relations Manager, Lani Weigert.  “This program focuses on bringing relief from symptoms caused by treatments for those suffering from serious illness.  Kupu Care currently focuses on providing support and relief to both the patient and their caregivers who are dealing with Advanced Congestive Heart Failure or Cancer,” explains Weigert.

This month’s talk will focus on Advance Health Care Directives.  Developed as a result of widespread concerns over patients undergoing medical treatments and procedures in an effort to preserve life at any cost, from a practical standpoint, medical directives and living wills facilitate a person’s medical care and decision making in situations when they are temporarily or permanently unable make decisions or verbalize their decisions. By having previously documented personal wishes and preferences, the family’s and physicians’ immense decision-making burden is lightened. At the same time, patient autonomy and dignity are preserved by tailoring medical care based on one’s own choices regardless of mental or physical capacity.

“Medical technology makes it possible for patients with little or no hope of recovery to be kept alive for months or even years. This makes it important to discuss what kind of care you want before serious illness occurs.” Said Weigert.  “For those who don’t have an Advance Health Care Directive, we will discuss how that process is done, and why it’s so important to have one.  We will explore ideas and beliefs that affect our end of life decisions, who should be involved and the type of medical care you do or don’t want.”

Those interested in attending the talk are asked to RSVP no later than Tuesday, May 2nd by contacting Lani Weigert at (808) 934-2913 or online at www.kupucare.org (events).

National Take-Back Day on the Big Island of Hawaii

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will coordinate a collaborative effort with state and local law enforcement agencies on the Big Island of Hawaii on Saturday, April 29th to remove potentially dangerous controlled substances from our nation’s medicine cabinets.

Locations:

  • Hilo – Ka Waena Lapa‘au Medical Complex (Upper Parking Lot), 670 Ponohawai St., Hilo, HI 96720
  • Kona – Hawai‘i Police Department Kealakehe Police Station Parking Lot, 74-0611 Hale Māka‘i Pl., Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

The National Take-Back Day provides an opportunity for the public to surrender expired, unwanted, or unused pharmaceutical controlled substances and other medications for destruction. These drugs are a potential source of supply for illegal use and an unacceptable risk to public health and safety from accidental poisonings and groundwater contamination.

This recurring one-day effort is intended to bring national focus to the issue of increasing pharmaceutical controlled substance abuse and provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

  • The program is free & anonymous.
  • Prescription and over-the-counter solid dosage medications, i.e. tablets and capsules accepted.
  • Liquid medications – cough medicine with codeine and other over-the-counter liquid medications accepted.
  • Injectables (pre-loaded with medication) and needles/sharps/syringes will not be accepted.
  • Illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine are not a part of this initiative.

Hawaii Tourism Authority Statement: Rat Lungworm Disease is Very Rare and Easily Preventable in Hawaii

George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), issued the following statement to reassure Hawaii’s tourism industry and visitors planning trips to the Hawaiian Islands that rat lungworm disease is very rare and easily preventable.

“Some national media attention has been devoted recently to rat lungworm disease in Hawaii, raising concerns among visitors and groups planning trips to the Hawaiian Islands. It is important that people not overreact and gather reliable information before making any assumptions.

“On the recommendation of the Hawaii State Department of Health, residents and visitors of Hawaii can be assured there is nothing to fear about getting infected as long as they use smart common sense when washing, preparing and storing food.

“The key facts that everyone needs to remember about rat lungworm disease is that it is very rare, it is very uncommon for people to get infected, and the disease is easily preventable by properly washing and storing all food, especially produce, before eating.

“To the visitors already in the Hawaiian Islands or planning a trip here in the coming months, there is no need to be overly concerned. Please patronize our restaurants and enjoy the delicious island cuisine and fresh produce that helps to make Hawaii such a beloved travel experience.

“I would strongly recommend anyone wanting trusted information about rat lungworm disease to visit the Department of Health website (health.hawaii.gov) and learn the facts.

“Hawaii, which has 1.4 million residents and welcomed more than 8.9 million visitors in 2016, typically has between one to 11 cases of rat lungworm disease reported annually, according to the Department of Health.

“Thus far in 2017, 11 people have been infected with the disease, nine residents and two visitors. While the cause of two cases is still being investigated, the Department of Health reports that the remaining nine cases could have been prevented with better hygiene and by properly washing, preparing and storing food.

“We hope knowing this information helps allay concerns about travel to the Hawaiian Islands, which continues to be the cleanest, healthiest, safest and most welcoming destination in the world.”

39th Annual Golf Tournament Supports Brantley Center

The Brantley Center, a services provider for people with disabilities, will host its 39th Annual Golf Tournament at Waikoloa Village Golf Course on Sunday, April 23, 2017.

The 39th Annual Golf Tournament supports the Brantley Center’s work with people with disabilities.

The tournament starts at 8 a.m. with a shotgun start, two-person best ball modified format. Entry fees are $125 per player for golf, lunch and prizes, including a chance to win $10,000 for hole-in-one. A silent auction fundraiser offers exciting items, like rounds of golf at the exclusive Nanea and Kohanaiki golf clubs.

Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., the Waikoloa Village Golf Course opened in 1972 and is known to be enough for the serious golfer, and a fun experience for beginners as well. The 6,971-yard, par 72 layout includes wide, forgiving landing areas, and well-bunkered and undulating greens with picturesque ocean and mountain views.

Brantley Center, founded in 1964 by Sergeant Gilbert Brantley, a former National Guard Advisor, provides adult day programs for clients with physical, emotional or mental disabilities. In a safe and supportive environment, men and women from North Hilo, Hāmākua and Kohala receive independent life skills and employment training, vocational rehabilitation, and help transitioning into the regular job market. Work opportunity is also available for some clients through the Center’s business services, such as aquaponic lettuce, auto detailing, janitorial, lawn and landscaping services.

A 501 (C) 3 non-profit organization administered by a volunteer Board of Directors, Brantley Center depends on government funding and grants from charitable organizations such as Hawaii Island United Way. The golf tournament and other fundraisers throughout the year fill a critical gap in budgetary need.

Golfers and non-golfers are invited to contribute to the benefit golf tournament, and various sponsorship levels are available. Organizers also welcome silent auction items, gift certificates and other donations at all price levels, to generate enthusiasm and give everyone a chance to participate.

For more information, please contact Golf Tournament Chairman Roland Kaneshiro, 987-7712, or call the Brantley Center, 775-7245.

Big Island Residents Catch Rat Lungworm – Residents Consumed Drink Tainted by Slug

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) today confirmed two new cases of individuals with rat lungworm illness on Hawaii Island. In addition, four related cases are considered highly probable based on clinical indications, a common discrete exposure, and symptoms consistent with the illness. All six cases are adults who were hospitalized and their illnesses reported to the department over the past weekend.

The adults became infected with the parasite Angiostrongylus cantonensis at a home in Keaau on Hawaii Island a few weeks after drinking homemade kava which they had left out in uncovered buckets after preparing the drink at the home. The kava was poured into a large bowl and after consuming most of the contents, the individuals noticed a slug at the bottom of the bowl. The department’s investigation determined the source of the infections was likely the homemade kava tainted by slugs.

“The department is continuing to monitor this serious illness spread to individuals by infected slugs and snails,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “Cases like this recent cluster are especially concerning because they can be prevented with basic precautions such as storing food in covered containers and properly inspecting and washing food before eating. These healthy habits can protect against food contamination and prevent serious illnesses.”

With the addition of the two illnesses confirmed today, there have been a total of 11 confirmed cases of rat lungworm infection this year in the state.

Earlier this year, four Maui resident cases, two non-resident cases who were visitors to Maui, and three Hawaii Island resident cases were confirmed. The two cases confirmed today were Hawaii Island residents and of the four probable cases, three were Hawaii Island residents and one was a resident of Maui who traveled to Hawaii Island.

The Hawaii Department of Health advises everyone to carefully store, inspect and wash produce, especially leafy greens. Always store food in covered containers, wash all produce thoroughly and supervise young children playing outdoors to prevent them from putting snails or slugs into their mouths. Controlling snail, slug, and rat populations is one of the most important steps in fighting the spread of rat lungworm disease. Take precautions to control slugs, snails, and rats around properties, and especially around home gardens. Farmers as well as food handlers and processors should increase diligence in controlling slugs, snails, and rats on the farm.

The Department of Health’s Food Safety Program continues to inspect and educate food establishments statewide on safe food handling and preparation to prevent contamination and food borne illness. Food establishments statewide are reminded to use only approved and licensed sources and carefully inspect and wash all produce during food preparation.

The most common symptoms of angiostrongyliasis or rat lungworm include severe headache and neck stiffness, but symptoms may vary widely among cases. Seek medical attention for headache, fever, stiff neck, tingling or painful feelings in the skin or extremities. The most serious cases experience neurological problems, pain and severe disability. Healthcare providers should monitor and support patients’ symptoms, and report any persons they suspect may be infected. More information on the signs and symptoms of rat lungworm infection are at: http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2015/07/angio-fact-sheet-20150716.pdf

Hawaii Nurses Can Renew Licenses Online Now

The Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA), Professional and Vocational Licensing Division (PVL) and the Board of Nursing encourages the more than 32,000 Hawaii licensed nurses which include registered nurses (RN), licensed practical nurses (LPN), and advanced practice registered nurse recognition (APRN) licensees to renew their licenses online at MyPVL (https://pvl.ehawaii.gov/mypvl).

Renewals are being accepted online from April 17, 2017 until midnight on June 30, 2017.  To better ensure receipt of the license pocket ID card by the license expiration date, it is recommended that renewals be submitted before May 31, 2017.  Renewals received or postmarked after June 30, 2017 will be subject to a late renewal fee.

MyPVL service enables 24/7 access to information and services from a single dashboard for all PVL licensees. It was created through a partnership with PVL and the state’s internet portal manager, Hawaii Information Consortium, LLC. The service is one of many online services for citizens and businesses offered through the state’s official website, eHawaii.gov.

Walgreens Helps UH Hilo College of Pharmacy with Diversity Initiative Funding

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy received a $7,000 check from retail pharmacy Walgreens to fund a diversity initiative. An additional $5,000 will go toward scholarships to students in the PharmD professional program.

From left, Quinn Taira, Eleanor Wong, Carolyn Ma, Amy Song and Heidi Ho-Muniz

This is the ninth year the college has received funding from Walgreens for diversity. The funds have sponsored educational programs such as a tour of healthcare facilities at Kalaupapa on Molokaʻi.

Walgreens began the diversity program in 2009 to donate $1 million annually toward diversity initiatives at all of the accredited pharmacy schools nationwide.

Eleanor Wong, Walgreens area healthcare supervisor for the San Francisco Peninsula/Hawaiʻi region, presented the check to Dean Carolyn Ma at Walgreens specialty store on Oʻahu. Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy alums Quinn Taira and Amy Song, who both work at the retail store, were in attendance along with Heidi Ho-Muniz, district manager for Walgreens Pharmacy and Retail Operations.

“We are grateful for this initiative that has helped our student pharmacists through the years and strengthened our own commitment to promoting and embracing diversity,” Ma said.

The University of Hawaiʻi Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawaiʻi System. The mission of the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawaiʻi’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawaiʻi and our future generations www.uhfoundation.org.

Democratic Party of Hawaii Hosts 4/20 Forum to Discuss the Future of Cannabis in Hawaii – Forum Will Be Live-Streamed on Facebook

On Thursday (April 20th), the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i (DPH) will host a forum to discuss the future of cannabis in the state. The informational forum will serve to educate party members and the public at large on the debate surrounding cannabis and efforts currently underway at both the state and federal levels.

The conversation will be wide-ranging and touch upon decriminalization and descheduling efforts in Congress, decriminalization bills at the Hawai‘i State Legislature, the national trend toward legalization in other states and municipalities, the current status of measures relating to medical dispensaries across the state, and the health benefits of cannabis for Hawai‘i patients.

Panelists include U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (with a brief presentation via videoconference), Sen. Will Espero, Me Fuimaono-Poe (Medical Director and founder of the Maile Cannabis Clinic), and Pamela Lichty, MPH – (President of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai‘i). A member is the Hawai‘i State House of Representatives has also been invited to join and will be confirmed tomorrow.

The forum will be moderated by Christopher Garth, Executive Director of the Hawai‘i Dispensary Alliance (HDA). The event will begin at 5:30pm with a legislation summary by Rep. Gabbard and continue with presentations from other panelists and a Q & A until 7:30pm. Tickets to the event are sold-out, so the DPH will be live-streaming the event via Facebook through the DPH page: https://www.facebook.com/HawaiiDems/

For more information contact: tim@hawaiidemocrats.org

West Hawaii Forum – Hawaii Island’s Wastewater: Problems, Plans, Clean Water?

Hawaii’s coastline is threatened by land-based pollutants, including sewage, which affect water quality, coastal habitats. Recent beach closures in both Hilo and Kona due to water contamination illustrate the scope of water pollution problems facing Hawai’i County.

Join us this Thursday, April 20th, for the West Hawai’i Forum on Wastewater and learn about Hawai’i Island’s options and share your concerns about a growing water pollution problem with ramifications for the Community’s overall growth management and sustainability goals.

  • DATE: April 20th (Thursday)
  • TIME: 6 PM – 8 PM
  • WHERE: West Hawaii Civic Center, Council Chambers

Doors will open at 5:30 pm. This program is free and open to the public. Special thanks and acknowledgements to Scout Troop 79 and Robert Leopoldino of McDonalds for their event support.

The Kealakehe Wastewater Treatment Plant in Kona processes 1.7 million gallons daily of so-called graywater — this beginning point is not the final destination of treated sewage and graywater effluent which sweeps in Hawaii’s pristine marine environment.

Wastewater outlets impact water quality in Hawaii Island’s coastal waters and have consequences for critical habitat areas and marine species. These impacts also extend to the island’s local economy, including; tourism, coastal recreation, fisheries, and property values.

Learn about Hawai’i Island’s options in addressing a water pollution problem with ramifications for the Community’s overall growth management and sustainability goals.

West Hawaii Forum Presenters:

  • William Kucharski – Director, Department of Environmental Management, Hawai’i County
  • Rick Gaffney – President, Rick Gaffney & Associates
  • Karen Eoff – Councilperson, Hawai’i County Council, District 8
  • Maile David – Councilperson, Hawai’i County Council, District 6

Moderator:  Jamie Borromeo Akau Community Enterprises

Join the discussion online at http://www.westhawaiiforum.org/event/wastewater‐treatment/

Four Meetings on Rat Lungworm Begins Tonight on Maui

Mayor Alan Arakawa and the Maui District Health Office jointly announced two community meetings to provide information on safety measures and vector control practices to help prevent Rat Lungworm Disease (Angiostrongyliasis):

  • Haiku Community Center: Monday, April 17, 2017; doors open at 5:00 p.m.; session begins at 5:30 p.m.
  • Hannibal Tavares Community Center (Pukalani): Wednesday, April 26, 2017; Doors open at 5:00 p.m.; session begins at 5:30 p.m.

At these two town hall-type meetings, presentations will be given on the Rat Lungworm parasite, current research and measures for controlling slugs, rats and snails; a demonstration on how to wash and care for vegetables and fruits; a personal story of one person’s experience with Rat Lungworm Disease; and Q&A.

Dr. Lorrin Pang (center, standing) talks with Sara Routley, DOH Health Educator, in a standing-room-only crowd gathered for the Hana community meeting on Rat Lungworm Disease held April 6th. Credit: Dept. of Health / Maui District Health Office.

Presenters include Maui District Health Officer Dr. Lorrin Pang; Dept. of Health staff; and Adam Radford, Manager, Maui Invasive Species Committee. For more information on these meetings, call ph. 984-8201.

Informational sessions also have been scheduled by the UH Manoa Cooperative Extension for Thursday, April 20 at 6:00 p.m. at the Kula Elementary School Cafeteria and on Tuesday, April 25 at 5:30 p.m. at the Univ. of Hawaii-Maui College Community Service Building.

  • Thursday, April 20, 2017 at Kula Elementary School Cafeteria, Maui at 6:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at the UH – Maui College Community Service Building at 5:30 p.m.

These sessions will target growers, landscapers and gardeners and will focus on managing rat, snail and slug populations, as well as inspection and sanitation measures to minimize the spread of Rat Lungworm parasites. Presenters include Cynthia Nazario-Leary, Kylie Wong, Lynn Nakamura-Tengan, and Dept. of Health staff. For more information on this meeting, call Kylie or Lynn at ph. 244-3242.

Local and State agencies participating in the above joint outreach efforts include the Maui District Health Office including Public Health, Vector Control and Environmental Health; the County of Maui; the Office of Mayor Alan M. Arakawa; the Maui County Emergency Management Agency (formerly Civil Defense); the State Dept. of Agriculture; Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC); the Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa Cooperative Extension; The Univ. of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR); Univ. of Hawaii-Hilo; the Maui County Farm Bureau; and the Hawaii Farmers Union United.

For general information on Rat Lungworm Disease, visit www.mauiready.org.

Navy Suspends Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) on Ships, Subs, Aircraft

Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces (USFF) and Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) released a joint message April 14, that suspends the use, possession, storage and charging of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) aboard ships, submarines, aircraft, boats, craft and heavy equipment.


NORFOLK (April 11, 2017) The use, possession, storage, and charging of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and all associated ENDS components is temporarily prohibited aboard Fleet Forces and Pacific Fleet ships, submarines, aircraft, boats, craft and heavy machinery pending completion of further analysis. The temporary prohibition is effective May 14, 2017. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gary A. Prill/Released)

The prohibition applies to Sailors, Marines, Military Sealift Command civilians and any personnel working on or visiting those units.

The Fleet commanders implemented this policy to protect the safety and welfare of Sailors and to protect the ships, submarines, aircraft and equipment.

The prohibition will be effective 30 days from the release of the policy May 14, and will remain in effect until a final determination can be made following a thorough analysis.

This new policy is in response to continued reports of explosions of ENDS due to the overheating of lithium-ion batteries. Multiple Sailors have suffered serious injuries from these devices, to include first- and second-degree burns and facial disfigurement. In these cases, injuries resulted from battery explosions during ENDS use, charging, replacement or inadvertent contact with a metal object while transporting.

Deployed units may request extensions on device removal until their next port visit. Supervisors should ensure that removable lithium-ion batteries are removed from the units and stored according to the ENDS manufacturer instructions, in plastic wrap, in a plastic bag or any other non-conductive storage container.

Sailors on shore will still be allowed to use ENDS on base, but must do so in designated smoking areas ashore while on military installations.

Sailors are encouraged to use available tobacco cessation resources and programs offered through Navy medical services and Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention (NADAP) programs.

Hawaii Attorney General Urges Hawaii Residents to Submit Claims for Provigil Settlement

Attorney General Doug Chin urges eligible Hawaii residents to file claims or make their views known on a $125 million multistate settlement that provides $35 million to consumers who purchased the brand-name drug Provigil or generic Modafinil from June 24, 2006 to March 31, 2012.

The deadline to file claims is June 25, 2017.

Eligible consumers include residents of Hawaii and all other states except California or Louisiana, who paid for the drug from June 24, 2006 to March 31, 2012.

Provigil is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to improve wakefulness in adult patients with excessive sleepiness. In August 2016, Hawaii and 47 other state attorneys general announced the settlement with biopharmaceutical company Cephalon and its affiliated companies. The settlement resolved allegations that the companies engaged in unlawful “pay-for-delay” anticompetitive conduct involving patent exclusivity for Provigil. “Pay for delay” occurs when a branded drug company unlawfully maintains its exclusive rights by paying a would-be generic competitor to delay entry into the market, keeping prices at artificially high levels.

As the patent for Provigil neared expiration in 2001, the states alleged that Cephalon intentionally misled the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) in order to secure an additional patent for the purpose of preventing competition. By misleading the PTO, Cephalon was able to obtain FDA exclusivity for Modafinil until June 2006, and extend patent exclusivity until April 2012.

For additional information or to obtain a claim form, visit www.StateAGProvigilSettlement.com or call 1-877-236-1413.

Department of Health and University of Hawaii at Hilo Notify Students and Staff of TB Exposure at Hilo Campus

Clinic to be held on campus in April

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) and University of Hawaii at Hilo are notifying approximately 120 students and staff members of their recent possible exposure to a person with active tuberculosis (TB) at the Hilo campus. All students and staff will be receiving a notice describing the situation and whether testing is recommended. A clinic for TB testing will be held on campus this month and DOH will be testing only those persons with regular close contact to the patient.

“The University of Hawaii Hilo campus activities and all classes can be held as scheduled with no safety concerns related to the past possible exposure,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “We don’t expect to find more individuals with infectious TB disease, but we hope to identify individuals who may have had recent exposure, are not contagious, and could benefit from preventative medication.”

“Tuberculosis usually requires many hours of close indoor person-to-person contact to spread it to others,” said Dr. Elizabeth MacNeill, chief of the TB Control Branch. “Most of the students and staff are not at risk, and our investigation to date has found no related active TB cases and no spread of the disease at the university or in the community.”

DOH conducted an extensive investigation and evaluation of potential contacts and possible exposure immediately after being notified of the active TB case. The individual is receiving treatment and is no longer infectious. Further Information on the individual and their case is confidential and protected by law.

TB is a disease that is commonly seen in the lungs and can only be spread from person-to- person through the air. When a person with active TB disease in the lung or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings, tiny drops containing M. tuberculosis may be spread into the air. If another person inhales these drops there is a chance that they will become infected with TB.  Two forms of TB exist, both of which are treatable and curable:

  1. Latent TB infection – when a person has TB bacteria in their body but the body’s immune system is protecting them and they are not sick. Someone with latent TB infection cannot spread the infection to other people.
  2. Active TB disease – when a person becomes sick with TB because their immune system can no longer protect them. It usually takes many months or years from having infection to developing the disease and most people (90 percent) will never become ill. Someone with active TB disease may be able to spread the disease to other people.

For more information on tuberculosis, please call the State of Hawaii Tuberculosis Control Program at 832-5731 or visit the Department of Health website at www.hawaii.gov/health/tb.

University of Hawaii Researcher Awarded $3M to Study Cancer Treatment Potential of Ironweed Plant

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded a five-year $3 million grant to a University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center researcher to study how natural compounds in ironweed plant extract can be used to treat breast and brain cancers.

James Turkson holds ironweed plant extract.

“It would be life changing for cancer patients if ironweed extract could help fight aggressive types of breast and brain cancers. Since the compounds are found in the plant, they are less toxic than traditional forms of treatment such as chemotherapy. This gives cancer patients a better quality of life when developed as drugs,“ said James Turkson, awardee and director of the UH Cancer Center’s Cancer Biology Program. “Glioblastoma is an aggressive brain cancer that currently has no cure. In addition, the types of breast cancers we are targeting are some of the most life-threatening breast cancers with few successful treatments.”

“The vast natural resources of Hawai‘i give our researchers a rare opportunity to make scientific discoveries of unique and significant proportions in treating cancer,” said Dr. Randall Holcombe, UH Cancer Center’s director. “This significant NCI award recognizes the breadth and depth of the natural product research focus of the UH Cancer Center, and highlights the national impact our research in Hawai‘i has in the fight against cancer.”

Turkson, along with collaborators Leng Chee Chang, Dianqing Sun and Supakit Wongwiwatthananukit at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, published a study a year and half ago showing that the natural compounds from the ironweed plant were effective in killing breast cancer and brain tumor cells and blocked the development and growth of these cancers in the laboratory. In recognition of these preliminary findings, the funds were granted to continue and expand the study.

“Our team of researchers at the UH Cancer Center and UH Hilo will now be able to probe deeper into the cancer treatment potential of ironweed. The plant’s extract is currently used in Southeast Asia for smoking cessation because of the affects the compounds have on the brain. Some of our initial findings suggest the plant’s natural compounds interfere with key cancer-causing biological pathways in the cancer cell, thereby shutting down the ability of the cells to grow and multiply,” said Turkson.

Breast and brain cancer in Hawai‘i

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in Hawai‘i.
  • An average of 125 women die from the disease each year in the state.
  • On average 41 people in Hawai‘i die each year from brain cancer.

*According to the Hawai‘i Tumor Registry

NCI grant: 1R01CA208851

The University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center through its various activities, cancer trial patients and their guests, and other visitors adds more than $54 million to the O‘ahu economy. This is equivalent to supporting 776 jobs. It is one of only 69 research institutions designated by the National Cancer Institute. Affiliated with the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, the Center is dedicated to eliminating cancer through research, education, and improved patient care. Learn more at www.uhcancercenter.org. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UHCancerCenter. Follow us on Twitter @UHCancerCenter.

For more information, visit: http://www.uhcancercenter.org/

A Message From Senator Kahele – Rat Lungworm Disease

Aloha,

For this week’s legislative update, I want to focus on Senate Bill 272, Senate Draft 2, House Draft 1 (SB272 SD2 HD1), Relating to Rat Lungworm Disease. With the recent flurry of news stories covering Rat Lungworm Disease in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Civil Beat and even the Atlantic, I feel it particularly important to update you on what the legislature is doing to address the situation.

SB272 SD2 HD1 appropriates an unspecified amount of funds to the University of Hawai`i at Hilo for programs, studies, and activities related to the prevention and eradication of rat lungworm disease. We know that we have to appropriately fund these efforts to put an end to this menace.

Currently, SB272 SD2 HD1 has passed third reading in the House. The Senate has already communicated its disagreement to the HD1 version because it changes the effective date to July 31, 2150. This strategy is known as “defecting the effective date” and either kills the bill or forces it into conference since it is a forgone conclusion that neither house will pass a bill with such an unrealistic implementation date.

Hopefully, this bill will go to conference. If it does, Representative Richard Creagan and I will likely be the lead-chairs for the conference committee and we’ll be able to work with our colleagues to put out a draft both houses can support.

As we move forward, stay up-to-date on this effort by following its progress on our capitol website or our weekly updates. Mahalo for all your support!

Me ka ha’aha’a,
Kaiali’i Kahele

Hawaii Department of Education Rolls Out SchoolCafé – Pay for School Meals Online Now

Hawaii Department of Education is rolling out a new program called SchoolCafé that will make it easier for parents to monitor and pay for their child’s school meals online and through a mobile application. The new system provides a number of features including online payments, creating auto-payments, checking account balances and setting up low balance alerts.

The new system provides a number of features for parents including online payments, creating auto-payments, checking account balances, setting up low balance alerts and is accessible online or through a mobile application. Photo Credit: Cybersoft PrimeroEdge

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) is rolling out a new program called SchoolCafé that will make it easier for parents to monitor and pay for their child’s school meals online and through a mobile application. The program, which is run using PrimeroEdge school nutrition food service software, will also help cafeterias track their inventory, make purchases and reduce costs.

“The Department has spent the last two years working on bringing our food service management system into the 21st century,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “This new software will allow us to streamline the experience and process for parents as well as our cafeteria staff who will be able to anticipate their inventory needs with more precision, which will help reduce costs in the long run.”

A pilot program for SchoolCafé started on Jan. 9, 2017 with schools in the Castle, Kahuku, Kailua, Kalaheo, Kaiser and Kalani complexes. The rest of the schools started transitioning in February, and all 256 campuses will be online and using the software by April 3.

The new system provides a number of features for parents including online payments, creating auto-payments, checking account balances, setting up low balance alerts and is accessible online or through a mobile application for iPhones, Android and Windows phones. A 5 percent convenience fee will be charged for payments made online and through the mobile application. Parents still have the option of paying with cash or check at their child’s school at no charge and can use SchoolCafé to check their balance.

Schools will be able to keep track of production records and can make purchases through a centralized ordering portal. Inventory will be tracked electronically, from previous purchases to pending orders. This is a change from the previous manual 5×7 index card system that schools were using for their food service programs.

“The cost savings from implementing the new program based on annual software expenses alone will be around $100,000,” shared Assistant Superintendent Dann Carlson. “This is one less expense that schools will have to worry about since the Department will cover the cost of the software annually for all 256 public schools.”

The PrimeroEdge software cost HIDOE $870,000 and includes 18-months of service, installation and staff training. The annual cost after the 18-months will be $350,000, which will be paid for by the Department.

Photo Credit: Department of Education

A letter from HIDOE’s School Food Services Branch will be distributed next week notifying parents about this new system and where they can get more information.

Supreme Court Allows Hawaii State Hospital Decision to Involuntarily Medicate Man to Stand

Attorney General Doug Chin announced that the Hawaii Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear the further appeal of an order authorizing the Hawaii State Hospital to involuntarily administer psychotropic medication to Michael Robert Lawrence.

Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin

In 2002, Lawrence was found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to the custody of the Hawaii health director for the 1999 murder and dismemberment of a vacuum cleaner salesperson on Oahu’s North Shore.

Lawrence was also prosecuted in 2008 for assaulting a Hawaii State Hospital physician while in custody. In 2013, the Hawaii State Hospital moved for a court order authorizing the involuntary administration of medication to Lawrence after he refused to accept medication. Lawrence appealed the court order to the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals, which affirmed the court order on November 30, 2016. Tuesday’s decision by the Hawaii Supreme Court not to hear a further appeal ends this litigation.

Attorney General Doug Chin said, “When Lawrence refused all psychotropic medications and continued to engage in threatening behaviors, the state hospital correctly moved for a court order for Lawrence’s safety and the safety of others. The statute authorizing involuntary medication was written exactly for these situations.”

A copy of the April 4, 2017 order from the Hawaii Supreme Court and the November 30, 2016 decision by the Intermediate Court of Appeals is attached.

Hospice of Kona Seeks Community Volunteers

Families of a loved one with a long-term illness or who are grieving a loss appreciate the range of supportive services provided by the Hospice of Kona (HOK) volunteer team.  West Hawaii residents wanting to help their neighbors and give back to the community can become a Hospice of Kona “Stars of Service” volunteer by attending the mandatory trainings that will be held at the HOK offices (75-5925 Walua Road, Suite 102) from 8:30am to 4:30pm on April 11th and 12th.

To register, please contact Adriana DeGress, Director of Volunteer Services/Events, 808-443-2936 or adegress@hospiceofkona.org.  Attending both meetings is mandatory to become a Certified Hospice Volunteer. Please bring a brown bag lunch; beverages and dessert provided.

“We have volunteers of all age ranges, from teenagers to retirees,” said Adriana.  “They’re the heart of our organization, because they extend their hearts to families and friends of patients with life-limiting illnesses.”

Volunteer positions include massage therapists, hair stylists, patient companions, bereavement support, Reiki therapists, musicians, and many others. Volunteers may have specific roles within the home setting or assist Hospice of Kona in other areas.