This viral disease that is spread by the bite of the Aedes mosquito is not something we usually see here in Hawaii; however, the Hawaii State Department of Health is currently investigating an outbreak of Dengue in Hawaii. They are focused on South Kona with specific focus on Hookena and Honaunau. As of November 12, 2015 there are as many as 78 suspected cases being investigated with 56 confirmed cases. Of the 56 confirmed cases, 46 are residents of Hawaii and 10 were visitors. Having said that, the DOH is warning that the entire Island is at risk because Aedes mosquitoes live statewide! If you want to follow up with current information or to get a fact sheet regarding Dengue, click here.
So what is the 411 on Dengue fever anyway?
There are 4 main strains of Dengue fever, and the current strain affecting Hawaii is DENV1. All of the strains have similar presentations. Symptoms of Dengue fever will occur suddenly within 3-14 days of being bitten by an infected mosquito. Initial symptoms include: fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, and joint and muscle pain. A rash typically develops on hands, arms, legs, and feet 3-4 days after the onset of fever. It is also possible to experience minor bleeding issues as well. Symptoms usually last one or two weeks. This type of Dengue, however, must be evaluated and monitored by a health care professional, because it can, in some cases, develop into a more severe case of Dengue that involves blood clotting and low blood pressure issues. This severe Dengue fever is extremely serious.
What should I do?
The DOH is considering spraying the high risk areas to eliminate mosquitoes, but the public is encouraged to help by contacting a pest control company to have your property sprayed. According to the above mentioned government website it is important to have your yard sprayed to help control this issue. “Just as importantly as the investigating and assessing, DOH and Hawaii County are reaching out to residents and visitors to ‘Fight the Bite!’ by helping to eliminate mosquitoes and keep from getting bitten.” There are some practical steps you can take to help lower your risk of mosquitoes and their bites:
- Avoid mosquito exposure: Aedes mosquitoes are most active during early morning hours just after sunrise and during early evening just before dusk, and anytime indoors or in shade.
- Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants when you are outside to ‘make the target smaller’.
- Do not wear dark colors; whites and light colors are best. (Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors!)
- Use a bug repellent that contains 20-30% DEET. (Check limits and guidelines for use on children.)
- Put mosquito netting over beds and use screens on doors and windows.
- Remove anything that holds water including: old tires, toys, flower pots, tarps, etc. (It only takes a small amount of water for mosquitoes to breed!) and use mosquito eating fish, such as guppies, in water sources that can’t be removed and do not have an outlet to the environment.
- Flush and spray plants that hold water with soapy water every week.
- Clean out your gutters.
- Repair cracks and cover septic tank vents and pipes.
Here at Sandwich Isle Pest Solutions we love our community and want to be sure that you are aware of this current Dengue danger. Please take all precautions necessary to avoid mosquitoes at this time. If you require additional information or want to discuss mosquito control, give us a call.