Four more people were diagnosed with dengue fever on Hawaii’s Big Island today (Nov. 5), raising the number of locally transmitted cases to 19 people, according to the Hawaii State Department of Health.
Health officials say these “locally transmitted” cases are concerning because, although dengue has popped up sporadically in Hawaii before, in most previous cases, the disease was imported, meaning travelers brought it to the islands from elsewhere. In the new cases, people are contracting dengue from the bites of local mosquitoes.
“Although dengue is not endemic to Hawaii, we do have the mosquito species capable of transmitting the disease,” Dr. Sarah Park, the state epidemiologist for Hawaii, said in a statement last week. It’s likely an infected traveler was bit by a mosquito and infected the local mosquito population, which led to this cluster of cases, Park said. “We want the public to be aware of this mosquito-borne disease and the steps they can take to prevent infection,” she added.
The outbreak likely started in mid-September, and has infected people on all sides of the Big