The state health department is continuing to look into a cluster of locally-acquired dengue fever cases on the Big Island. There have not been any new cases since Friday. The total still stands at 181. Of that, two cases are potentially infectious.
Now the fight against dengue fever is being taken to new heights thanks to the people who live near one of the hot spots as well as social media.
With the number of dengue fever cases on the rise almost daily for the past two months, residents of Milolii, one of the so called hot spots for infectious mosquitoes, decided to join the fight by starting a GoFundMe account. It is an on-line fund raising website that has helped raise more than a billion dollars worldwide.
Their goal was two pronged. The first is to help raise awareness. The second is to raise a minimum $3,000 to purchase mosquito kits which were distributed on Monday.
“It’s the holiday season. And be lonely. He has a small tight knit community about 300 residents and 40 some homes. So they live the simple life down here, and every penny goes along way,” said Milolii resident Kai Kahele.
Kahele says the effort ramped after the state land department declared Miloli’i beach park off limits last Wednesday. It gained traction personally when he started hearing stories of families possibly having to choose between the cost of fighting the mosquitoes or celebrating the holidays.
“When they’re faced with and my going to be able to buy presents for my kids or or my going to be up to put a Christmas dinner on the table and so those are the kind of concerns we were hearing I was hearing right around Christmas, Christmas Eve, said Kahele.
The kits contain products like mosquito netting, spray and coils. All paid for by the GoFundMe account that was started Christmas eve, and it exceeded all expectations by midday Monday.
“I tell you the generosity of people not only here on Hawaii Island but all of it from the main month $4,480 in total donations in the last 72 hours, and that’s amazing,” said Kahele. “It’s hard to ask people for money. It’s never easy to ask but when you have a situation like this with kids and needy families hurting, you have new babies and keiki running around, and the kapuna people come together. It was pretty amazing to see in the last few days.”