Hawaii Health Department confirms 10 cases of locally-acquired dengue fever

Hawaii Health Department confirms 10 cases of locally-acquired dengue fever
Published: Nov. 2, 2015 at 8:12 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 3, 2015 at 5:18 AM HST
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Dr. Sarah Park
Dr. Sarah Park

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Health Department has confirmed 10 cases of locally-acquired dengue fever on Hawaii Island.

The 10 people were residents and visitors, said Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist.

Dengue fever is spread by mosquitoes, and is not endemic to the islands.

The Health Department is focusing its vector control efforts on areas of Kona. However, Park said that cases have been found elsewhere on the island.

Officials said no other islands have reported cases.

"It's important for Big Island folks to understand that no matter where you live or work that you could potentially be at risk and we don't know if the risk is over or how long it's going to go last," Park said.

"Most of the people will have what we call mild to moderate symptoms and they will recover however there is a small percentage that can develop severe dengue."

The 10 cases bring the total number of confirmed cases of dengue fever in Hawaii to 23 so far this year.

There were 14 cases in 2014, and 10 in 2013.

The symptoms of dengue fever include a sudden onset of fever, severe headaches, eye, joint, and muscle pain, and rash. The rash typically appears on the hands, arms, legs and feet three to four days after the fever begins.

The symptoms usually go away within one to two weeks.

There's no cure for dengue fever. Typically, doctors suggest bed rest and acetaminophen.

How can you keep from getting dengue fever?

Here are tips from the Health Department:

  • When traveling to areas that have dengue fever, try to avoid exposure to mosquitoes.
  • Use mosquito netting over beds, and screens on windows and doorways.
  • Use mosquito repellents and wear appropriate clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and long pants that reduce exposure to mosquito bites.
  • Mosquitoes are drawn to dark colors; so if possible, wear white or light colored clothing when you are likely to be exposed to biting mosquitoes.

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