Dengue fever cases confirmed on Oahu, Kauai

By Doug Oakley

HONOLULU -- The Hawaii Department of Health reported six confirmed cases of dengue fever on Oahu, four on Kauai and 52 on Maui since local residents started testing positive for the disease in late September.

The mosquito-transmitted disease originally was confined to the Hana area of east Maui.

Visitors have a very low risk of contracting the disease in Hawaii, according to a health department spokeswoman. Visitors tend to stay for a short period of time and do not frequent areas with large populations of mosquitoes, she said. Places like golf courses, beaches, hotel grounds and shopping malls are well maintained and don't have environments that sustain mosquito populations, she added.

Nevertheless, the health department has set up a Web page with information on the disease in Hawaii at www.state.hi.us/health/dengue/index.html.

And the Hawaii Convention and Visitors Bureau has set up a special help line for questions about dengue at (808) 479-6690. Operators are available seven days a week from 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Hawaii time.

Also there are phone numbers to call for information on each island. On Oahu it's (808) 586-8352; the Big Island (808) 933-0912; Kauai, (808) 241-3387; and for the islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai the number is (808) 948-8200.

On Maui where the highest number of cases has occurred, the Maui Visitors Bureau and island hotels and ground operators are working to educate visitors about the risk and precautions to take.

The disease, according to health officials here and at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, is characterized by high fever, headaches, joint and muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and a rash. It cannot be passed from person to person, and there is no vaccine for it.

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