Hawaii Island schools on list of spraying sites near dengue fever cases

Local News

In a news conference Thursday, the state Department of Health identified high-risk areas for possible dengue fever infection.

The red spots were mainly on the west and southern part of Hawaii Island.

“What is coming to light more often is the fact that most of the cases have some sort of association where we are also seeing, getting reports from our vector colleague regarding heavy mosquito activity in the south Kona and Kau area,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park.

Spraying continues on Hawaii Island, and now schools are on the list.

Several campuses will be treated this weekend as a preventative measure because they are located near confirmed cases of dengue fever. In an email, a spokesperson for the Department of Education told KHON2 that schools have also adjusted custodial schedules so they can perform extra landscaping measures to remove standing water.

  • Konawaena High, Middle and Elementary schools
  • Honaunau School
  • Hookena School
  • Hilo High School
  • Hilo Intermediate School
  • Waiakea Intermediate and Elementary schools

These schools will be treated this weekend as a preventative measure because someone near by was confirmed to have dengue. On its website, Hawaii County Civil Defense is reporting that there are no cases directly related to these campuses.

Lynn Nakasone, with the Environmental Health Services Division explains that “spraying needs to be done more than just once. Once a big rain occurs, they may have to spray again.”

State Health Department director Dr. Virginia Pressler says officials don’t know when the outbreak will be controlled, but Hawaii County Civil Defense will be handing out more resources for the homeless next week.

“We will be providing free repellent, free long-sleeve shirts, free mosquito netting, as well as EMS will be evaluating those who need attention and keeping them connected with appropriate health care,” Pressler said.

Park says they still haven’t been able to identify the origin of the virus, but are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s dengue fever branch in Puerto Rico to find out where the virus was potentially introduced from.

According to a spokesperson, the National Guard delivered portable sprayers from Oahu to Hawaii Island Wednesday morning on a training flight that was already scheduled to fly there. The equipment was delivered on a C-17.

We asked how many sprayers were delivered, but were told there were only a few.

The National Guard says Hawaii County Civil Defense made the request to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, who helped coordinate the delivery.

At this time, there are no plans to deliver any more.

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