CDC team arrives in Hawaii for dengue fever fight

CDC team arrives in Hawaii for dengue fever fight

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was scheduled to arrive in Hawaii on Monday night to help with the response to the dengue fever outbreak on the Big Island.

Lyle Petersen, director of the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, will evaluate state and county efforts.

Virginia Pressler, director of the state Department of Health, said the in-person assessment will help the state determine if additional measures are needed to stem the dengue fever outbreak.

"We are following best practices, to our knowledge, and with their guidance that we have been all along," she added.

The CDC is also sending an entomologist and an assistant.

Pressler said roughly 15 to 20 suspected cases are reported daily, but laboratory testing shows that two-thirds of those samples are not dengue fever.

Honolulu's mayor is now urging people on Oahu to get rid of standing water where mosquitoes which spread the illness can breed.

"It's just about being prepared. It's not about running around and having fear or being concerned," said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

City workers are also on the lookout for potential breeding grounds.

"If it's in a city facility, we're normally looking at areas where mosquitoes can be found, responding to issues that either we find or people report to us," said Ross Sasamura, director of the city's Department of Facility Maintenance.

Tourism officials are making sure that visitors aren't discouraged from coming here, but are aware of proper precautions.

"We're working very closely with our stakeholders - our hotels, our transportation companies, our rental car companies - to ensure that people will be here," said Les Enderton, executive director of the Oahu Visitors Bureau.

Caldwell added, "We just want to make sure that to the extent that we have any possibility of dengue, that we're doing everything we can. Much of it, probably three-fourths of it, depends on the people of this island, one million strong, to dump out standing water."

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