On Monday February 8th, the mayor of Big Island in Hawaii released a state of emergency declaration, due to a dengue fever outbreak in the region. There have been approximately 250 reported cases that have erupted since late October of last year, as it relates to this illness. Dengue fever is spread via infected mosquitoes.
As such, Billy Kenoi, Hawaii county mayor, has declared that citizens on Big Island can continue with ridding old tires at landfills; as tires left lying about are breeding areas for mosquitoes. This is in hopes to decrease the outbreak within the area, and help with efforts to reduce spreading.
According to Hawaiian health officials and the mayor’s declaration, this is the largest outbreak this region has seen since the ‘40s. Those who suffer the illness will notice flu-type symptoms, which can eventually evolve into a fatal dengue hemorrhagic fever.
David Ige, Hawaii’s governor chimed in, stating he supports Big Island’s efforts, yet he has refrained from issuing an emergency statewide declaration at this time; unless the illness reaches other islands or spreads enough to include additional diseases, such as the recent Zika virus.
For those who may be unaware, the Zika illness has rapidly grown throughout Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. There have also been connections made to the virus, as it relates to an increase in microcephaly birth defect cases within Brazil. Much like the dengue fever, Zika is mosquito-borne.
Health officials report that a baby born with brain damage in January of this year at an Oahu hospital was said to be the first Zika virus case in a birth, reported on American soil.
MSN reported that while the dengue fever is not prevalent in Hawaii, there is the occasional pop up of infection, which is brought into the state by travelers who are infected. The Hawaii Department of Health confirmed that the current Big Island outbreak is the first grouping of locally-infected cases of the disease since an outbreak in Oahu, in 2011.