The State of Hawaii fights against mosquito-borne diseases, including dengue fever and Zika virus. Hawaii’s governor David Ige declared a state of emergency for mosquito-borne illnesses on Sunday.
According to the news, on Hawaii’s Big Island the state has been in the midst of a dengue fever outbreak, with more than 250 confirmed cases. Hawaii Gov. David Ige declared on Friday in a news conference that there have been no locally transmitted cases of the Zika virus in the state.
However, there are concerns that the islands could be at risk of a Zika virus outbreak because the same mosquitoes that can carry dengue fever also can carry the Zika virus. Six residents of Hawaii are known to have contracted Zika during travels to the outbreak areas. In addition to the South American and Caribbean countries noted as sources of Zika infection, the virus is active on Pacific islands including American Samoa.
Despite the fact that the number of dengue fever cases in Hawaii has decreased over recent years, the state continues to fight to completely destroy the infection and transmission of dengue fever, according to the governor’s office.
As stated by Gov. Ige in the same conference, the authorities are doing everything possible in order to stay proactive and prevent vector borne diseases in the state.
There have been no locally acquired Zika cases in the U.S. or Hawaii, and we’d like to keep it that way.
affirmed the governor in his statement. The emergency proclamation comes to help the state acquire more financial funds in order to control outbreaks.
According to Fox News, a December report from the Centers for Disease Control highlighted deficiencies in the state’s vector control department. Now, Hawaii is rushing to build up its mosquito control staff. During the economic downturn, Hawaii reduced its mosquito control and entomology staff to 25 positions in 2016 from 56 employees in 2009.
On the other hand, the Department of Health plans to hire 10 new staffers with money the governor released and health officials are searching for more funding to rebuild the staff, according to Virginia Pressler, director of department.
Another aspect of the emergency order gives mosquito control officials the ability to spray property with pesticides, even if the owner objects. There has been much controversy about pesticide use in Hawaii over recent years, including allegations that agriculture companies are spraying too many pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides on their crops.
All in all, people who are traveling south this year, definitely need to take some extra precautions. However, travelers should not be alarmed by the new proclamation or allow it to alter their travel plans to any of the Hawaiian Islands, according to Hawaii Tourism Authority officials.