Mosquitoes that carry dengue fever are in Hawaii

| November 30, 2017 | 0 Comments

Aedes-mosquitoes can carry dengue fever and are present in Hawaii. (Courtesy photo)

Hawaii state officials offer an alert

Dr. Grace Chen O’Neil
Department of Emergency Medicine
Tripler Army Medical Center

HONOLULU — Many have read about the dengue outbreak, last year, on the island of Hawaii, called the Big Island. Plus, there was also an outbreak in 2001 and 2011 on the island of Oahu.
Dengue fever is not native to Hawaii, but it is intermittently imported from other areas by infected travelers. The dengue virus mainly occurs in tropical Asia, Africa, the South Pacific and the Caribbean.

Since April 26, 2016, fortunately, the Hawaii Department of Health has not identified any new cases. However, the Aedes-mosquitoes, which can spread dengue fever, are present throughout the state of Hawaii.

Dengue virus
The dengue virus is passed from mosquitoes to humans. Mosquitoes become infected by feeding on someone who is infected with dengue. An infected mosquito can transmit the virus to a new person when it bites them and can live and infect other people for a few weeks.

Symptoms start five to seven days after being bitten, but the onset can range from three to 14 days. Symptoms include fever, headaches and a rash. The rash is on the hands, arms, legs and feet and occurs three to 14 days after the fever starts.

People may have bleeding problems. People also complain of eye, joint and muscle pain. Symptoms usually resolve in one to two weeks. People can have severe dengue that causes blood clotting problems and low blood pressure. Most people have mild symptoms, and some may be asymptomatic.

If you suspect you have dengue, contact your health care provider who will contact the Department of Health to order blood tests to confirm the diagnosis. If you are ill for more than a week before your test, an antibody test can reveal whether you were previously infected with dengue.

There are four types of dengue viruses, but the dengue virus type is not possible to determine after the first week of illness.

Unfortunately, having one type of dengue virus does not give you immunity to the other three.

Treatment
The treatment for dengue is supportive. Try to remain well-hydrated and get plenty of rest. Acetaminophen can help reduce fever or pain.
To prevent dengue fever, try to avoid mosquitoes. Aedes-mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk. They also like to cluster in shady areas and can live inside, so make sure screens on windows or doors do not have holes. Mosquito netting may help.

Mosquitoes prefer dark colors, so try to wear lighter-colored clothing. Use repellent with 20-30 percent DEET (an insect repellent with the active ingredient called diethylmetatluamide) and wear long-sleeved T-shirts and pants. DEET, however, should not be used on children less than two months old.

Avoid applying repellent to cuts, wounds or irritated skin. Do not spray the repellent directly on the face. Apply it on your hands first and then on the face, avoiding the mouth and eyes.

(Editor’s note: In the next article, learn more about the Zika virus, which has not been found in Hawaii, yet, but has been found on the mainland already.)

More Online
For more details on dengue fever, visit the State of Hawaii, Department of Health Disease Outbreak Control Division at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/disease_listing/dengue/.

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Category: Health

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