In 2001, Hawaii experienced an outbreak of dengue, which in all 122 laboratory-confirmed cases were identified through 2002 (92 on Maui, 26 on Oahu, and 4 on Kauai). Before 2001, autochthonous dengue infections had last been definitively reported in Hawaii in 1944.

That number has been easily eclipsed by the current outbreak on the Big Island.

The Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) reported Friday an additional six local transmission dengue fever cases, bringing the total to 136. These cases include 119 residents and 17 visitors.

The Department of Health is spraying and treating areas with high mosquito presence and confirmed cases. Spraying has been conducted in various areas of South Kona and Puna.

Although spraying and treatment of areas is ongoing, the most effective method to reduce the spread and eliminate Dengue is to fight the bite. Minimize or prevent the possibility of being bitten by an infected mosquito by wearing clothing that minimizes exposed skin, use mosquito repellant and avoid activities in areas of high mosquito concentration during the early morning and late afternoon periods when mosquito activity is greatest.

In addition, persons feeling ill and having a fever should remain indoors to prevent the possibility of being bitten and infecting mosquitoes.