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glad winter is coming...

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Joined: 25 Jul 2000
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Location: Damnit...I'm a doctor jim
glad winter is coming... PostTue Oct 23, 2001 9:23 am  Reply with quote  

Darn Skeeters =>

Case of dengue fever discovered in Haiku

Staff Writer

HAIKU Local officials from the state Department of Health recorded the first case of dengue fever transmitted in Haiku, according to Dr. Lorrin Pang, the Maui District health officer.

"This implies there are infectious mosquitoes in Haiku," Pang said Sunday after visiting Nahiku and Hana, where officials at first believed the disease had been contained.

It's important to note that legally only the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can confirm the presence of dengue. But Pang said he was confident that his department's test was flawless and that the CDC would very shortly validate DOH test results for a Haiku patient, who is a male adult.

Pang said the suspected dengue victim in Haiku lives next door to a confirmed dengue victim who contracted it after visiting Hana in August. Dengue can be transmitted only via mosquitoes.

According to Pang, the Health Department's dipstick test has had very few false results. Every time a person has tested positive, the CDC test has confirmed the results so far, he said.

After the Haiku test results, Pang said the Health Department's Vector Control Branch immediately sprayed the area around the home of the Haiku resident. Spraying will continue in Haiku today, and a meeting will be announced very shortly for residents of Haiku and Paia.

Dengue is an infectious tropical disease that causes debilitating high fever, severe joint and muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and rash. Currently no vaccine exists to protect people from dengue.

The CDC confirmed 19 cases as of Friday, but local health officials have reported that more than 40 people have complained of denguelike symptoms.

Complications from dengue are rare, but, if untreated, they can be fatal.

Individuals with dengue are contagious three days before they break out with dengue symptoms and up to two weeks after recovery.

Pang said the disease in Hana and Nahiku has puzzled him. "Nobody's ever seen this kind of epidemic before," he said.

Pang said he was expecting to see hundreds of cases in East Maui by now. He wondered whether the numbers were low because people weren't reporting denguelike symptoms to the Health Department.

To satisfy his curiosity, Pang made door-to-door visits in Keanae and Hana this weekend, he said. He found that ill residents had reported their symptoms to the Health Department. "Since we're not seeing much, maybe there's not that much out there," he said.

Nevertheless, the Health Department continues to recommend preventive measures. Residents in affected areas are encouraged to wearing insect repellant and protective clothing, and get rid of any objects where water can collect and mosquitoes can breed.

Maui County Council Member Bob Carroll said Hana constituents have been calling his Wailuku office for information on the disease and on government action to address the problem.

"It's really a concern for them," Carroll said by telephone from his Hana home.

He said he planned to follow up today on a request to get regular, written Health Department updates issued in Hana. Pang said he was open to the idea and that his department has already set up an office in the old Hana School to receive public inquiries.

Carroll said East Maui, like other parts of the island, has already lost business due to the downturn in travel after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the East Coast. "It's a double whammy. We have nine-eleven and then this on top of that," he said.

Carroll said he worries that would-be tourists may misconstrue reports of dengue in East Maui to mean that dengue is all over the island. "I'm concerned they won't come to Maui, period," he said.

Business at Paul's Farm in Lower Nahiku stopped in its tracks this weekend, according to Paul Robert Bodnar, owner of the flower and fruit stand.

"It does ruin the economy," Bodnar said. "Nobody's coming through."

Bodnar said Sunday night that a sign posted at the Nahiku turnoff has stopped people from passing through the lush neighborhood on the road to Hana. He said his flower and fruit stand is a source of livelihood.

During a Friday news conference, Pang said health officials are not quarantining Nahiku and Hana, but are recommending that only residents travel the road into Nahiku.

"We just don't want people to go down there unless they have business down there," Pang said Friday.

Tutu's, a plate lunch stand by Hana Bay, has also seen a drop in business, according to its cook, Barbara Liehr. "I don't know if it's this fever" that's got the numbers down, she said Sunday.

Bodnar of Nahiku said he hopes the dengue can be stopped quickly. "As soon as this can be all taken care of, I'll be happy," Bodnar said.

Coila Eade, a longtime Hana resident, said people seemed to carry on with their normal lives Sunday. At Wananalua Church, the number of attendees appeared to be the same as on other Sundays, she said.

Residents are taking precautions though. "We're certainly using a lot of mosquito repellant," Eade said.

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Joined: 25 Jul 2000
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Location: Damnit...I'm a doctor jim
PostFri Oct 26, 2001 3:07 am  Reply with quote  

Importing mosquitoes

Backtrack simulation analysis indicates that wind-blown mosquitoes could have traveled from New Guinea to Australia, potentially introducing Japanese encephalitis virus. Large incursions of the virus in 1995 and 1998 were linked with low-pressure systems that sustained strong northerly winds from New Guinea to the Cape York Peninsula.
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