Chancellor’s Message: UH Hilo response to dengue fever outbreak, updated Nov. 30

The Department of Health has not confirmed any cases that would directly impact the campus, but in the meantime there are things you can do to protect yourself.

Nov. 30, 2015

Aloha,

Hilo sealThe State Department of Health has ordered spraying at a number of public schools in Hilo to control the mosquito vector that spreads the dengue virus. Our understanding is that this action is related to areas near where an individual has been exposed. The virus has spread around the island because exposed individuals often move around.

The Department of Health has not designated the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo campus as a place to spray. Nevertheless, we are looking into the possibility of spraying. We are in contact and communication with County Civil Defense and the State Department of Health in this regard and will inform you before we spray, should we decide to do so.

Meanwhile there are things you can do to protect yourself:

  • wear pants and long-sleeved shirts; light colors are best;
  • use insect repellent;
  • avoid areas were mosquitoes are present.

We encourage you to help by informing Auxiliary Services at uhhauxsv@hawaii.edu if you see situations on campus with standing water.

More detailed instructions on preventative measures and updates on reported cases are available at the Department of Health website and at the Hawaii County Civil Defense website.

Be safe.

Don Straney

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Nov. 20, 2015

Aloha,

Hilo sealThe outbreak of dengue fever continues on Hawai‘i Island. The Hawai‘i Department of Health reports that the number of cases is still increasing and they occur throughout the island, including the Hilo area. The mosquitoes that carry the dengue virus occur in Hilo and on the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo campus. The virus is only transmitted to humans by mosquito bites.

Mosquitoes breed in standing water. UH Hilo staff continue to monitor campus to eliminate situations on campus that accumulate standing water, such as open containers, clogged gutters and persistent puddles. They are also checking window screens to locate holes to repair. Open doors are a way mosquitoes can enter buildings and we ask you to help by always keeping building doors closed.

The Department of Health has not confirmed any cases that would directly impact the campus, but in the meantime there are things you can do to protect yourself:

  • Wear pants and long-sleeved shirts, light colors are best.
  • Use insect repellent.
  • Avoid areas were mosquitoes are present.

If you see situations on campus with standing water, we encourage you to help by informing UH Hilo Auxiliary Services by email uhhauxsv[at]hawaii.edu, call (808) 932-7009, or via a work order request.

See the Hawai‘i Department of Health website on Dengue Fever for more information. Posted there are more detailed instructions on preventative measures and updates on reported cases.

As the outbreak continues, we will issue additional campus updates.

Be safe.

Don Straney

This post was updated to correct proper contact for Auxiliary Services.

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Nov. 6, 2015

Aloha,

Hilo sealAs you may be aware, the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) has been investigating cases of dengue fever on Hawai‘i Island. Currently the number of confirmed cases is 23, including 15 Hawai‘i Island residents and eight visitors. At this time there have been no cases reported on our campus.

Dengue fever is spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes. It is NOT transmitted person to person. DOH and various state and county agencies have been working to prevent the further spread of dengue on Hawai‘i Island by aggressively targeting mosquito populations in affected areas. The university is in close communication with these agencies and is working to take steps to reduce risks to our campus community.

Auxiliary Services staff are working to identify and address any pools of standing water or other environmental conditions that could attract or propagate mosquitoes. If you see any areas that could be potential breeding areas for mosquitoes, please let Auxiliary Services know by submitting a work order request.

As a precaution, we would ask all members of our university to be aware of DOH recommendations to protect yourselves from dengue:

  • Take precautions to avoid mosquito bites if possible (use insect repellent, long sleeves, etc.).
  • Eliminate any obvious mosquito breeding areas (standing water, overwatered plants, etc.).
  • If you become sick, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

For current information regarding dengue fever, please see the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health Disease Outbreak Control Division webpage.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Student Medical Services at 932-7639 or the Office of Environmental Health and Safety at 932-7368.

Mahalo.

Don Straney