Hawaii's Big Island
declares emergency over dengue fever infections
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[February 09, 2016]
(Reuters) - The mayor of Hawaii's
Big Island declared a state of emergency on Monday to deal with a
growing outbreak of dengue fever, spread by infected mosquitoes, with
250 cases confirmed over the past four months.
As a result of Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi's order people on the
Big Island will be allowed to resume disposing of old tires in
landfills, since tires which are left lying around are a known
breeding spot for mosquitoes.
There have been 250 confirmed cases of dengue fever on the island
since Oct. 29, making it the largest outbreak in the state since the
1940s, according to the mayor's declaration and Hawaii health
Dengue fever causes flu-like symptoms and can develop into the
deadly dengue hemorrhagic fever.
Hawaii Governor David Ige said in a statement he supported the
efforts on the Big Island but would not issue a statewide emergency
declaration unless the outbreak spread to other islands or expanded
to include other diseases, such as the Zika virus.
Zika is spreading rapidly in South and Central America and the
Caribbean and has been linked to severe birth defects in Brazil.
Last month, a baby born with brain damage at a hospital in Oahu,
Hawaii, was apparently the first case of the mosquito-borne Zika
virus in a birth on U.S. soil, health officials said.
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Dengue is not endemic to Hawaii but has occasionally spread after
being imported by infected travelers. The outbreak on the Big Island
is the first cluster of locally-acquired dengue fever since a 2011
outbreak on Oahu, the Hawaii Department of Health said.
(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in Los Angeles; Editing by Dominic
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