According to latest reports, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is helping health officials in Hawaii in their attempt to control the ongoing dengue fever outbreak in the Big Island.
This Tuesday, Dr. Lyle Peterson, the director of CDC’s division of vector-borne infectious diseases, traveled to Hawaii along with a couple of colleagues and discussed different aspects of the current situation with health officials in the state.
Other than bringing their expertise, they also brought with them some tools including specially designed mosquito traps which although extremely user-friendly and capable of tracking the particular mosquito types responsible for transmitting dengue fever, are not available widely.
According to data provided by health officials in Hawaii, since the month of September, the state has had more than 117 confirmed cases of the disease; as many as 103 of them are local residents of the state. Another alarming fact is that 29 of those diseased are kids below the age of 18 years.
For those who don’t know: humans gets dengue fever when infected mosquitoes bite them. So far, two mosquito types have been identified to possess the ability of transmitting dengue. They are Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypto. It has not surprised many to see Hawaii having a dengue outbreak as both these mosquito species are found in the state.
Here, it must be mentioned that the current outbreak is the first locally transmitted dengue outbreak in the Big Island. This also is the first outbreak the state is experiencing since 5 people got infected in Oahu four years back.
Recently, Oahu had a case of the illness, but the state’s health officials said that it had no link with the new outbreak and was not transmitted locally.
Statistics suggest that dengue fever primarily occurs in the South Pacific, the Caribbean, Africa and tropical Asia. Dengue virus is not widespread in the state of Hawaii, but at times is brought in by infected people traveling to this part of the world. The health officials of the state believe that even the current outbreak has its source in travelers.
The primary duty of the CDC team visiting Hawaii would be finding out the location of the mosquitoes and trying to know how frequently transmission is going on right now.