Oahu officials take precautions in light of Hawaii Island dengue fever outbreak


City and state officials held a press conference Monday to discuss measures taken on Oahu in light of a dengue fever outbreak on Hawaii Island.

“We’re working very closely with our partners, to communicate information with our partners on the Big Island and all the counties to make sure that we are prepared for any kind of eventuality,” said Peter Hirai, deputy director for the city Department of Emergency Management.

Crews are working to get rid of standing water in order to keep possibly infected mosquitoes from breeding, and officials encourage the public to do the same.

“If you find a mosquito, that means you’ve got a clogged gutter or you’ve got a bromeliad with water in it or you’ve got water somewhere. Get rid of the water. Make sure your screens are repaired and you can use mosquito netting as well,” said Department of Health director Dr. Virginia Pressler.

Officials also remind residents to close lids on trash bins to prevent rainwater from collecting, and prevent standing water from collecting on bulky items left out for pickup.

The Board of Water Supply urges everyone to fix leaky faucets outside the home and do not over-irrigate your lawn. Make sure rain barrels are covered with fine mesh screens. If you see water collecting on the street, notify BWS at 748-5000.

“Good practices to help prevent dengue fever and control mosquitoes are actually good water conservation practices,” said BWS manager and chief engineer Ernie Lau.

Information on dengue fever and the state’s “Fight the Bite” campaign is available at Honolulu Hale, Kapolei Hale, and all satellite city halls.

Meanwhile, the Oahu Visitors Bureau said it is working with hotels, rental car companies, and even airlines to try and make sure Hawaii’s tourism is not affected by the outbreak.

“To ensure that people will be here and that the Hawaii Tourism Authority is posting notices directing people toward our various websites,” said Les Enderton, Oahu Visitors Bureau. “It’s really all about please come, enjoy your vacation and stay safe.”

One case of dengue fever was confirmed on Oahu earlier this month, but officials say it was not locally acquired and not connected to the outbreak.

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