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    December 2017
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Statewide Campaign on Mosquito-Borne Diseases and Threats to Hawaii to be Announced

Governor Ige and the Mayors of Honolulu, Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii Counties will announce a new statewide public education campaign to build awareness of mosquito-borne diseases and their threat to Hawaii.

Mosquito Bite

The state and counties will also announce the state’s planning efforts to prevent, prepare, and protect Hawaii from mosquito-borne disease outbreaks this summer and throughout the year. State departments will mention special efforts underway to reach visitors, traveling residents and students with guidance on preventing the spread of Zika.

Why: As a favorite travel destination, Hawaii is identified as one of the nation’s higher risk areas for the potential spread of Zika virus. With the Aedes Aegypti mosquito present in our state, year-long warm climate, and past experience with dengue outbreaks, mosquitos pose a serious threat to our residents and visitors.

When:  Thursday, June 30, 2016 at 1:00 p.m.

Where: Governor’s Ceremonial Chambers, State Capitol 5th floor

Who:

  • Governor David Y. Ige
  • Mayor Kirk Caldwell, City & County of Honolulu
  • Mayor Alan Arakawa, County of Maui
  • Mayor Bernard Carvalho, County of Kauai
  • Mayor Billy Kenoi, County of Hawaii
  • Dr. Virginia Pressler, Director, Hawaii Department of Health
    Major General Arthur J. Logan, Adjutant General, Department of Defense
  • George Szigeti, Director, Hawaii Tourism Authority
  • Ross Higashi, Airports Division Deputy Director, Department of Transportation
  • Steven Schatz, Deputy Superintendent, Department of Education

Hawaii Civil Defense Confirms Dengue Fever Cases in Waipio Valley

I just got off the phone with Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Chief Darryl Oliveira and he confirmed that the reason Civil Defense has closed access to Waipio Valley to only residents is because there have been confirmed cases of Dengue Fever in residents that live in the valley.  Some residents are part time residents and others live there all the time. (UPDATE – 6 confirmed cases relating to the area of Waipio Valley)

Department of Health Vector Control workers will begin working in the valley to eradicate mosquitoes, however, the valley is a unique area that does have a high density population of the mosquitoes that can can transmit dengue fever.

Center for Disease Control (CDC) will be back on the island this month and will be working in the Ho’okena Beach Park, Miloli’i area and now possibly Waipio Valley.

The county has not opened any of the closed parks and they do not have any date set on when the parks may open.  Civil Defense is aware of the impact this will have upon the residents of the valley, the taro farmers in the valley and as well as the tour companies that frequent the valley.

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 207

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 5 more case since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 207.

Mosquito BiteAs of January 6, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 5 new cases of dengue fever.  Currently, as many as 6 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
6 Illness onset  12/27/15 to 12/31/15
Cases no longer infectious
201 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 12/26/15
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
207

Of the confirmed cases, 187 are Hawaii Island residents and 20 are visitors.
168 cases have been adults; 39 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 12/31/15.

As of today, a total of 805 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 30, 2015)

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

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

4 More Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases Reported on the Big Island of Hawaii – 153 Total Confirmed

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases has risen by 4 more cases since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 153.

Mosquito Bite

As of December 15, 2015*:

Hawaii Island residents 136
Visitors 17
Confirmed cases, TOTAL 153

Of the confirmed cases, 136 are Hawaii Island residents and 17 are visitors.
120 cases have been adults; 33 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 12/8/15.

As of today, a total of 571 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 9, 2015)

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

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Confirmed Cases of Dengue Fever Rises to 107 on the Big Island of Hawaii

As of November 26, 2015*:

Hawaii Island residents 93
Visitors 14
Confirmed cases, TOTAL 107

Of the confirmed cases, 93 are Hawaii residents and 14 are visitors.
83 cases have been adults; twenty-four have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 11/18/15.

Mosquito Bite

As of today, a total of 230 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 November 25, 2015)

101 Confirmed Cases of Dengue Fever – CDC Official to Visit Big Island

As of November 25, 2015 there were 101 confirmed cases of Dengue Fever reported on the Big Island:

Hawaii Island residents 88
Visitors 13
Confirmed cases, TOTAL 101

Of the confirmed cases, 88 are Hawaii residents and 13 are visitors.
78 cases have been adults; twenty-three have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 11/17/15.

As of today, a total of 190 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

101According to the Hawaii Tribune, an official from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) will be coming to the Big Island on Tuesday of next week:

“…a top CDC official is set to arrive on island next week to assess the handling of the outbreak here.

Lyle Petersen, director of the CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, will vet containment efforts and share his analysis with county and state officials during his visit, confirmed Gov. David Ige’s communications director Cindy McMillan.

“(Petersen) will evaluate ongoing efforts based on his visit and analysis of the most current data being captured on a daily basis,” McMillan said.”

23 Cases of Dengue Fever – Hawaii State Senator Urges Awareness and Action

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.  

mosquitoes

“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 (sengreen@capitol.hawaii.gov) 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.

No Confirmed Cases of Dengue Fever at NHCH

As of November 5, there have been a total of 15 confirmed cases of locally acquired dengue fever on the Big Island. There have been no confirmed cases at North Hawaii Community Hospital but hospital personnel are on alert for possible exposure.

Mosquito Bite

Dengue fever is a viral illness spread by mosquitoes. Dengue is not spread directly from one person to another. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 400 million people worldwide are infected every year. There are not yet any vaccines to prevent infection with dengue virus and the most effective protective measures are those that avoid mosquito bites. When infected, early recognition and prompt treatment can greatly lower the risk of medical complications.

Dengue symptoms generally appear between five and seven days after a bite by an infected mosquito. Symptoms include high fever, joint and muscle pain, severe headache, eye pain, and rash. People with mild cases may have only a fever. Uncomplicated dengue cases usually resolve within two to seven days.

Individuals suspected or confirmed to have dengue are instructed to stay indoors and avoid mosquito bites during their first week of illness. Patients should be encouraged to aggressively control and eliminate mosquitoes around their homes and businesses by eliminating areas of standing water. Windows and door screens should be checked for holes and tears and repaired as needed. Individuals should use mosquito repellents containing 20–30% DEET (diethyltoluamide) and wear long sleeves and pants when possible.

If you think that you or family member may have contracted dengue, you are encouraged to call the Hawaii Department of Health Dengue Hotline (808) 586-8362 or contact your primary care physician immediately. Additional information is available at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/dib/disease/dengue/

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/.

Group Proposes Genetically Modified Mosquitoes to Fight Dengue

Ok… I thought I had heard of all the GMO type of products that there were… but now I’m reading that there are genetically modified mosquitoes!

The Department of Science and Technology is looking into the use of genetically modified mosquitoes to combat the dreaded dengue hemorrhagic fever.

In a round table discussion attended by at least 60 Filipino scientists on Monday, foreign scientists from the British company Oxford Insect Technologies (Oxitec) and the National Academy of Sciences proposed their newest technology aimed at eradicating the Aedes aegypti species of dengue-bearing mosquitoes.

Dr. Luke Alphey, co-founder and chief scientist of Oxitec, and Dr. Anthony James, a molecular biologist and a member of NAS, who are both part of the team working on the genetically engineered mosquitoes, are in the country upon the invitation of the DOST.

The scientists have created genetically modified Aedes aegypti male mosquitoes, which, they claim,  if released in the wild and mated with female ones, can produce flightless female offspring…

More here: Group proposes genetically modified mosquitoes to fight dengue.

Hawaii Biotech Participating in Dengue Clinical Study

biotec

Hawaii Biotech, Inc. President and CEO Elliot Parks,  Ph.D., announced today that the company has initiated a Phase 1 clinical study with their monovalent dengue vaccine candidate.

The double-blind, placebo controlled, dose  escalation safety study in healthy subjects is being conducted at the Saint Louis  University Center for Vaccine Development.

Vaccine recipients in this study will also be monitored for virus neutralizing antibodies.  “This dengue clinical study is an important milestone in Hawaii Biotech’s maturation as a clinical stage company. In addition it confirms the versatility of our subunit vaccine technology platform,” Parks notes. “This Phase 1 study will also prepare us for the initial clinical testing of Hawaii Biotech’s tetravalent dengue vaccine.”

Hawaii Biotech’s dengue monovalent vaccine candidate is the first recombinant subunit vaccine for dengue to enter clinical studies. Previous dengue vaccine candidates tested in the clinic have been either live-attenuated or DNA-based vaccines.

Hawaii Biotech intends to test a dengue tetravalent vaccine candidate, developed using the company’s  recombinant subunit vaccine technology, within a year.

The first phase of clinical development program is designed to assess safety, determine a dose range and identify potential side effects. Results from this clinical study are expected within a year.

Hawaii Biotech’s dengue subunit vaccine candidate has been developed with financial assistance from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, and the Pediatric Dengue Vaccine Initiative.

About Dengue: Dengue, also known as “break-bone fever,” is a prevalent infectious disease in tropical and subtropical countries throughout the world. Approximately 3.5 billion people live in endemic countries and about 100 million people are infected with dengue every year. Dengue infections result in an estimated 20,000 deaths.

Dengue is caused by one of four closely related, but distinct, virus serotypes (DEN1, DEN2, DEN3, and DEN4), of the family Flaviviridae, which also includes yellow fever, West Nile, Japanese encephalitis, and tick-borne encephalitis viruses. Dengue is transmitted by the bite of a mosquito infected with any one of the four dengue viruses.

Infection with dengue virus results in severe flu-like symptoms that can lead to a life-threatening hemorrhagic fever. During the last quarter century, many tropical regions of the world have seen an increase in dengue cases. The southern United States is potentially susceptible to dengue epidemics as the types of mosquitoes that transmit dengue virus are prevalent there.