U.S. Senator Brian Schatz

Schatz: ‘We need to act fast’ to fight dengue, Zika’

February 12, 2016

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U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz called Thursday for a swift response to Hawaii Island’s dengue fever outbreak.

In a meeting with Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Schatz discussed efforts to fight off the current dengue outbreak, as well as the threat of the Zika virus, which has emerged during the past few weeks as a pressing concern for health officials worldwide.

“Dengue is a public health emergency on Hawaii Island,” Schatz said in a statement. “With the emerging threat of a possible Zika crisis, we need to act fast. There is no doubt we need additional funding, but we also need the CDC’s commitment to address dengue and the threat of Zika simultaneously in Hawaii.”

Dengue and Zika are carried and transmitted to humans via species of mosquitoes that can be found on the Big Island. So far, only locally transmitted cases of dengue have been found on the Big Island, but in January a baby born with a birth defect on Oahu was linked to the Zika virus. The baby’s mother previously traveled to Brazil, where cases of Zika exploded in recent months.

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