Dengue in Hawaii: What It Means and How to Prevent It November 23, 2015 By Will Sowards Leave a Comment Hawaii has become synonymous with a relaxing island vacation, but an invader is poised to ruin paradise. Since early September, more than 30 cases of dengue fever have been identified on Hawaii’s Big Island. This is the largest dengue outbreak to ever occur in the state, and it is the first locally transmitted outbreak of the virus. Are you mosquito-ready? Dengue is spreading throughout the world Be prepared and visit a Passport Health Travel Clinic today! Dengue usually occurs in tropical regions like Southeast Asia or the Caribbean. The virus does not naturally occur in Hawaii, and some are wondering whether this outbreak could be the start of permanent local transmission. As a mosquito-borne disease, dengue does not generally spread from person-to-person but rather is contracted through a mosquito bite. Most infected people show no signs of infection, and, often, signs do not appear for five to ten days after exposure. Common symptoms include fever, rash and joint pain, leading to the disease’s nickname of ‘bone fever’. The virus is rarely fatal but has similar symptoms to influenza and can be painful. The full extent of the Hawaii outbreak may not be known for weeks or even months to come. With flu season starting, the long incubation period, a small sample size of cases and a few other related issues; the Hawaiian health department is finding it difficult to peg down the exact nature of the outbreak. “I think the only question about Hawaii right now is, are we looking at the beginning of a large transmission event, where there might be 50 or 100 cases, or are we looking at something that has been going on during September and October, and is essentially over?” Jonathan Day, a professor of medical entomology at the University of Florida said in an interview with LiveScience. “At this point, I don’t think we know the answer to that.” Only about a quarter of the Hawaiian dengue victims have been travelers to the Big Island, but precautions are necessary. If you are traveling to Hawaii, especially the Big Island, be sure to bring mosquito repellents, especially DEET for skin and permethrin for clothing. For more information on dengue fever see our dengue prevention page. Have any questions about dengue or wondering if you might be at risk? Comment below, on our Facebook page or via Twitter with your dengue questions.