Last updated: 10:30 AM ET, Wed February 10 2016

Hawaii's Big Island Declares State of Emergency Due to Dengue Fever

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | February 10, 2016

Hawaii's Big Island Declares State of Emergency Due to Dengue Fever

Photo by Janeen Christoff

On Monday, Hawaii's Big Island has officially declared a state of emergency as a result of an outbreak of mosquito-borne dengue fever, which has infected at least 250 people over the last several months.

According to Victoria Cavaliere of, Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi also announced that the estimated 250 confirmed cases of dengue fever have all come since late October 2015, resulting in the biggest outbreak since the 1940s.

As for symptoms of Dengue fever, it is very similar to a traditional flu, but patients must be careful, as it can develop into the deadly dengue hemorrhagic fever. To combat the illness, residents on the Big Island will now be able to throw tires away in the island’s landfills since abandoned tires are ideal breeding spots for mosquitoes.

READ MORE: Facebook Post Outlines Why You Should Never Take Rocks from Hawaii

While the Big Island has already declared a state of emergency, Hawaii Governor David Ige has acknowledged that he will not issue a statewide emergency declaration unless the Dengue fever spreads to the other islands or another illness like the Zika virus is confirmed.

Hawaii Tourism Authority president and CEO George D. Szigeti issued a statement:

“Travelers should not be alarmed by the County of Hawaii’s state of emergency declaration for Hawaii Island or allow this decision to alter their travel plans to any of the Hawaiian Islands. This declaration is a good strategic move by the County of Hawaii, as it will provide government officials with additional funding and resources to eliminate dengue fever from Hawaii Island.”

READ MORE: 5 New Ways to Experience Hawaii

“As of today, 252 people on Hawaii Island have become ill by dengue fever over the past five months, of which 24 have been visitors. The rate of confirmed cases has been declining since January and, currently, only one case is considered infectious. Moreover, most of the dengue fever cases on Hawaii Island have been confined to the rural southwestern region. No locally acquired cases of dengue fever have been found on any other island of Hawaii.”

“It’s important to note that no health organization has advised against traveling to the Hawaiian Islands at any time since the outbreak of dengue fever began on Hawaii Island. Travelers should also take note that Hawaii Governor David Ige has chosen not to issue a statewide emergency proclamation since none of the conditions for doing so have been realized.”


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