Health expert says another tropical disease could follow same pa - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Health expert says another tropical disease could follow same pattern in US as dengue fever

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    Hawaii Island is grappling with the largest dengue fever outbreak in Hawaii since statehood. Get answers to your questions about dengue fever.More >>

    Hawaii Island is grappling with the largest dengue fever outbreak in Hawaii since statehood. Get answers to your questions about dengue fever.

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HILO, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) -

As the Big Island continues to grapple with a dengue fever outbreak, another emerging bug-borne disease is raising concerns that it could follow the same pattern in the United States that dengue fever has, according to a New York Times report.

The Times reported that Brazil has been in a panic over the tropical disease Zika, a mosquito-borne virus that may be linked to a defect causing thousands of babies to be born with tiny heads and brains. And recently, the first case of Zika has popped up in Puerto Rico, the first area in this hemisphere – besides Easter Island -- for the virus to appear.

An official from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, predicted that Zika would follow the pattern in the U.S. that dengue has, including the recent outbreak in Hawaii. But the official could not determine the aftermath of potential outbreaks.

There are many factors that may contribute to an outbreak, including climate change, more people traveling and increasingly crowded cities in tropical areas.

Unlike dengue fever, those who are infected by Zika may not necessarily feel ill as it is less likely to produce symptoms like fever and rash as often.

Dengue fever is transmitted to humans when they are bit by infected mosquitoes. The symptoms usually include a sudden onset of fever, severe headaches, rash and eye, joint and muscle pain. 

The latest number of confirmed dengue fever cases on the Big Island was 210.

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