On Wednesday evening, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) hosted an interactive “Telephone Town Hall” meeting with residents of Hawaii’s Second Congressional District to discuss dengue fever, Zika, and other mosquito borne illnesses. Expert guests Chief Darryl Oliveira from Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense and State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park were featured on the call to share important updates with listeners and respond to their live questions and concerns.

Image/Tulsi Gabbard website
Image/Tulsi Gabbard website

“We had nearly 5,000 people from across my district join our Telephone Town Hall tonight, where they were able to get updates on the latest situation, as well as answers to their questions and concerns,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

“There were important questions about how the state and our community can gather lessons learned from Hawaiʻi Island’s dengue outbreak and apply them going forward, what preventive steps are important for members of our community to continue to take, as well as some startling facts about the Zika virus.  The reality is, Hawaiʻi is a gateway to the Asia-Pacific and makes us susceptible to visitors who may be carrying different illnesses.  It’s important for us to learn from Hawaiʻi Island’s recent outbreak, remain vigilant, and work together to make sure these mosquito-borne illnesses are not allowed to take hold in our communities.”

Other topics of discussion included additional information on mosquito-borne illnesses, how they are contracted, what the symptoms and side effects include, how to prevent these illnesses, and what can be done to alleviate mosquito breeding areas. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard called in from Washington, DC; Dr. Sarah Park called in from Honolulu; and Chief Darryl Oliveira called in from Hilo. They reported on the status of the dengue fever outbreak on the Big Island, as well as what is being done at the federal, state, and county levels to protect Hawaiʻi residents and guests from a future outbreak.