May 10, 2002
HONOLULU (May 10, 2002) –
Today the State Department of Health unveiled plans for its long-term
dengue fever management strategy. The plan will include a long-term
dengue surveillance system statewide, a statewide mosquito population
survey, and ongoing vector control efforts.
"We are pleased to report that mosquito control efforts seem to have
helped control the outbreak," said State Health Director Bruce
Anderson. "It has been more than 13 weeks since the last confirmed case
of dengue fever in the state. This is great news, but we must not let
this lead to complacency. Hawaii will always be at risk of dengue and
we must continue to control mosquito populations if we are to keep
dengue out of our communities," Anderson added.
The statewide surveillance system will include ongoing sampling of
patients who demonstrate dengue like symptoms. This will provide the
Health Department with valuable data, giving officials an opportunity
to catch an outbreak before it spreads. And in addition to monitoring
the situation in Hawaii, the department will be keeping close tabs on
dengue outbreaks around the world.
The statewide mosquito population survey was initiated in March and
will help clearly identify problem areas and the various species of
mosquitoes found in Hawaii. Health officials believe the primary vector
in Hawaii’s current outbreak to be the aedes albopictus mosquito,
which experts say is an inefficient vector of dengue. Determining where
the more efficient vector, aedes aegypti mosquito, is present will help
the department map out targeted vector control efforts.
Vector control crews will continue to spray immediately around
suspected cases in an effort to eliminate any mosquitoes potentially
carrying dengue virus.
The dengue fever website will continuously be updated with
information and updates on dengue fever in Hawaii and around the
Anderson said, "Controlling the outbreak and limiting the spread of
the disease was a high priority for the Department—but it would
not have been possible without the full cooperation of the Counties,
businesses and the dedication of residents throughout the state. The
effort of residents to eliminate mosquito breeding areas around homes
was a critical component of this success. But what is important to
remember is that this battle is not over, we all need to commit to a
long-term approach to this potentially serious public health threat and
all of us must make mosquito reduction a way of life."
Dengue is common in many areas of the world and will likely be
re-introduced into the state in the future. Experts say vigilant
mosquito control is the only effective means to prevent those
introductions from establishing itself in our islands. DOH officials
stress the need for every resident in the state to be increasingly
vigilant about mosquito control in and around their homes, especially
following rainy periods.
Here’s how the public can help:
- Educate and protect yourself and your family – wear
protective clothing and repellant.
- Get rid of all breeding sites. Even one thimble full of water can
become a home for mosquitoes in just 8 days.
- Learn to recognize the symptoms and report any health concerns to
For more information log onto the DOH web site at www.hawaii.gov/doh/dengue.
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