Haiku Dengue Fever Prevention Meeting Addresses Residents’ Questions, Concerns
By Wendy Osher
An estimated 50 people attended last night’s Dengue Fever informational session in Ha’iku on Maui.
The meeting was sponsored in part by the State Department of Health Maui District Health Office, Councilmember Mike White and the Office of the Mayor.
The meeting was the fourth one held on Maui since the state Department of Health confirmed four cases of locally-transmitted dengue in Pearl City on O’ahu. Since March 24, 2011, the DOH has received a total of 82 reports of suspected dengue fever cases, 34 have been ruled out (determined negative) and 48 are pending lab results and/or investigation.
Maui District Health Director Dr. Lorrin Pang said last week that there are several suspected cases on Maui under investigation along the Hana Coast.
Dr. Pang will be the special guest this Thursday, April 21, during the Maui Breakfast Club radio show on AM 900 KNUI. The live interview will air between 8 and 9 a.m. Listeners are invited to submit questions by calling (808) 856-2836.
Frequently Asked Questions about DENGUE FEVER and MOSQUITOES
(Information courtesy Hawai’i State Department of Health)
Q: What is dengue fever?
A: Dengue fever is a viral illness spread by mosquitoes. The disease commonly occurs mainly in tropical Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and the South Pacific, especially during the rainy season in areas infested with infected mosquitoes. Sometimes, persons arriving from other countries may enter the United States with dengue fever and infect local mosquitoes, as happened in Hawaii in 2001.
Q: How do you get it?
A: The dengue virus is spread through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes. Dengue is not spread directly from one person to another.
Q: What are the symptoms of dengue fever?
A: The symptoms of dengue fever include sudden onset of fever, severe headaches, eye, joint, and muscle pain, and rash. A rash may appear on the face and extend to the hands, arms, upper body and eventually the legs and feet from as early as 24-48 hours but usually around 3 to 4 days after the fever begins. Minor bleeding problems can also occur. The symptoms usually go away completely within 1 to 2 weeks. However, just as the fever goes away, some people may show warnings signs such as severe stomach pain, persistent vomiting, drowsiness, bleeding or blood clotting problems. When this happens, the illness is called dengue hemorrhagic fever. Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a very serious illness with abnormal bleeding and very low blood pressure (shock) and tends to be associated with those who have had previous dengue infection.
Q: When do symptoms start?
A: The symptoms usually start 5 to 6 days after being bitten by infected mosquitoes, but the onset can range from 2 to 14 days.
Q: What is the treatment for dengue fever?
A: There is no specific treatment for dengue fever. Bed rest, plenty of fluids, and acetaminophen (Tylenol) to treat fever and pain are recommended. Aspirin and NSAIDS (ibuprofen, naproxen) are not recommended as they can make bleeding problems worse. Sponging the ill person’s skin with cool water may help to control the fever if it remains high despite acetaminophen. There is currently no vaccine for dengue fever.
Q: If you get dengue fever once, can you get it again?
A: Yes. There are four major types of dengue viruses. Having dengue fever with one type of dengue virus will not protect you from the other three types.
Q: How can you keep from getting it?
A: • Avoid exposure to mosquitoes. Aedes mosquitoes are usually most active in the early morning hours after daybreak, in the late afternoon before dark, and any time during the day when indoors or in shady areas. • 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.
For more information on dengue fever, visit www.hawaii.gov/health and click on “Information on Dengue Fever & Mosquito Control.
*** Dengue Facts Q&A courtesy Hawai’i State Department of Health.