The State Department of Health’s Hawai’i Island District Health Office and the County of Hawai’i jointly announced a single imported case of Zika virus on Hawai’i Island.

Fight the Bite/Hawaii Dept of Health (cropped)
Fight the Bite/Hawaii Dept of Health (cropped)

This is the first travel-related case of Zika in Hawai’i County this year confirmed by the DOH State Laboratories Division. The Hawai’i resident has a history of recent travel to the South Pacific, and is past the point of being infectious to mosquitoes. Hawai’i has no locally acquired Zika cases at this time, and no mosquitoes are transmitting the disease within the state.

A DOH Vector Control team was sent to visit the individual’s residence and place of employment to survey the areas for mosquitoes, and treated any areas of concern to reduce mosquitoes and breeding sites. DOH continues to coordinate closely with its county partners to assure a targeted and efficient response.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the state of Hawaii has reported 14 travel-associated Zika virus cases.

“The County of Hawai’i is working with the Department of Health to take proactive steps to assess affected areas for mosquito activity, educate communities, and treat mosquito breeding sites,” said Civil Defense Administrator Ed Teixeira. “This event is a reminder that we all need to remain vigilant and take steps to prevent mosquito bites especially when traveling to affected areas worldwide, and eliminate mosquitoes by emptying standing water where they can breed.”

Zika continues to spread in multiple regions across the world, and imported or travel-related cases are expected to increase this year. Travelers are advised to prevent infection while traveling by using repellant and by staying away from mosquitoes. Travelers should also prevent mosquito bites when they return from areas with mosquito borne disease outbreaks, as well as monitor their health and see their healthcare provider about illness occurring in the 2–3 weeks after return from travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends special precautions for women who are pregnant or may become pregnant. Pregnant women should not travel to areas with Zika. If travel cannot be avoided, women should consult with their healthcare providers first and vigilantly follow steps to protect themselves from mosquitoes.