The growing number of confirmed cases of Dengue fever (23 as of today) has State Senator Josh Green (Dist. 3 – Kona, Ka‘u) calling on constituents within his district and across the entire Big Island to take extra precautions to stem the spread of the virus.
“As a State Senator and a Big Island physician, I’m concerned not only about the immediate well-being and safety of our residents and visitors, but also the real long term health and economic impacts an outbreak like this can have on the state,” said Sen. Green. “Unless people become aware of the seriousness of this virus and take action, I’m worried the infection will spread and impact will grow,” said Sen. Green. “There may likely be more confirmed, as well as real but unconfirmed, clinical cases in the coming weeks. However, Dengue can be stopped if we all do our part to reverse the outbreak.”
The Senator has personally seen and treated patients in recent weeks he is concerned may have Dengue fever and is working with hospitals and schools on Hawai‘i Island to ensure there is proper communication to report suspected cases of Dengue. He notes that any constituents who have concerns that they might have acquired the virus should contact their local healthcare provider and the DOH infectious disease branch (808-586-4586). In addition, any calls or email to Senator Green (email@example.com) will be placed in the hands of top DOH officials for immediate action.
The Senator is reminding residents and visitors to take measures to avoid the spread of Dengue Fever on Hawai‘i Island including:
- Applying mosquito repellents on exposed skin and clothing
- Wear long sleeves and pants, and lighter colored clothing, to limit exposure to mosquitoes
- Eliminate standing water around the place of residence to reduce mosquito breeding
- Repair screens and jalousie windows
Some key symptoms of Dengue include sudden onset of high fever (in some case over 103 degrees Fahrenheit) severe headaches especially behind the eyes, joint and muscle pain, and rash. It is rare, but bleeding can also occur with severe forms of Dengue fever and is a medical emergency. “Anyone who believes they may have contracted Dengue should see a doctor immediately,” said Sen. Green. “People should take Tylenol for high fevers that may stem from Dengue fever and NOT aspirin or ibuprofen, that can add to complications of this disease.”
“Preventing Dengue Fever from becoming endemic in Hawai‘i will require a prolonged response from DOH, the county and state but most importantly, take good care now and call a healthcare provider if you feel sick,” Green concluded.
The latest information on the state’s efforts to control the spread of Dengue fever can be found on the DOH website www.health.hawaii.gov.