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Dengue fever confirmed in Maui resident

Person no longer infectious, but mosquito control still encouraged

The state Department of Health has confirmed that a Maui resident had imported dengue fever into the state after a trip abroad.

DOH spokeswoman Janice Okubo said the person is no longer infectious, but the department is asking people to heed mosquito prevention tips.

Nearly two weeks ago, the department gave out around 80 letters to Kahului residents after it was notified of a suspected case of mosquito-borne illness some 200 yards from those homes. Residents in a Maui Lani neighborhood reported receiving notices about the then-suspected mosquito-borne illness. The exact type had been unknown, pending test results.

Okubo said last week that the department would not provide the exact streets in order to protect the identity of the patient, who is a Maui resident. She said this week that the patient spent significant time in the Kahului area where the notices were given.

Dengue fever symptoms may include sudden fever, severe headaches and rash, along with eye, joint and muscle pain. Symptoms can appear two to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

The department always advises persons who are ill to remain indoors and away from mosquitoes until they have recovered; in nearly all cases, they comply because they generally don’t feel well, Okubo said.

The DOH is advising residents to:

• Apply Environmental Protection Agency-approved repellents as recommended by product label.

• Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors.

• Maintain screens on windows and doors.

• Empty or drain water at least weekly from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool and boat covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers.

• Remove/destroy discarded tires, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances or anything that holds water.

• If traveling, check beforehand about dengue risks at the destination, and if there are any, take precautions against mosquito bites. For country-specific travel information and recommendations, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/travel.

Details about dengue fever can be found at health.hawaii.gov/docd/disease_listing/dengue/.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.

**This article contains corrections from the original story published on Nov. 20, 2019.