Vector control teams on Hawaii Island have been spraying areas in an effort to kill adult mosquitoes to keep dengue fever from spreading.
On Friday, we got a chance to tag along with the teams to see first-hand what they are doing to stop the outbreak.
We went to a neighborhood in Honaunau, which the state has called a hotspot for mosquito activity, and followed crews as they surveyed the area looking for standing water and areas where mosquitoes can live.
The team also used pesticides on plants in an effort to get rid of mosquitoes.
Linnea feldman lives in this neighborhood and has been taking extra precautions to stay protected.
“I sleep in a tent now, a tent inside of my house, just because it’s not totally secure,” Feldman said.
As the team surveyed the area, they found and removed larvae in water.
Crews sprayed a mix of soap and water to the areas, which prevents mosquitoes from breathing.
KHON2 asked, “Is this enough? Do you think we may need to do more things besides spraying, besides educating the public?”
“At this point, with our confirmed cases, we are getting these confirmations on a daily basis, and we are hoping it goes down, but at this point this is the protocol for treating it,” said state vector control inspector Steven Okoji.
Neighbors say they are trying to be proactive to keep dengue fever from spreading. One is to avoid being bitten.
“First thing to do was to get rid of as many mosquitoes as possible and to cover up myself and out a lot of mosquito repellent on,” one resident said.
Hookena Beach Park was also recently treated.
Hawaii County Civil Defense says the park is closed, but KHON2 only found one sign.
We spoke to some visitors who had no idea about the dengue fever outbreak, and some residents said they will continue to come to the beach.
“I have a few friends who say they are going to stay indoors, they don’t want to risk it, but like I said, before maybe if I was bit on the daily and they were a problem, but since I don’t get bit, I was just thinking who cares,” said Dominick Mandolfo.
The vector control team says this type of treatment has worked in the past to get rid of mosquitoes.
Crews will return in a few days for a follow up.