Governor urged to declare state of emergency to tackle dengue th - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Governor urged to declare state of emergency to tackle dengue threat

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U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is calling on the governor to declare a state of emergency to tackle the Big Island’s dengue fever outbreak.

The governor's office said there were no plans to do so on Friday.

Cindy McMillan, the governor's communications director, said the governor is considering Gabbard's call and "continuing to work with Hawaii County to make sure they have the resources they need."

In a news release Friday, Gabbard said the governor should deploy more state resources to address the outbreak, including the assistance of the National Guard.

“The dengue fever outbreak on the Big Island continues to worsen,” Gabbard said, in a news release. “We cannot afford to wait any longer for the aggressive action necessary to combat the spread of this serious disease.”

As of Friday, there have been 242 confirmed cases of dengue fever on Hawaii Island. Two of the people who fell ill remain infectious.

Of those who have gotten sick, 24 are visitors and 45 are children.

The state has said that most cases of dengue fever have been mild. (Some people exhibit no symptoms.)

But a minority of cases are serious. A report released last week said that 14 percent of cases confirmed through November 26 required hospitalization.

The report also said that the median age for those who have gotten sick is 29, and 58 percent are women.

Gabbard said the state should increase testing, enhance public education, hire more personnel, and appoint a “dengue czar” to deal with the outbreak.

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