Nuuanu Stream still poses leptospirosis risk


POSTED: Wednesday, September 02, 2009

QUESTION: Is Nuuanu Stream safe to swim or walk in? Is leptospirosis still present? My granddaughter has a birthday party to go to, and on their list of things to do is to go swimming in Nuuanu Stream.

ANSWER: You have since informed us that the outing to the stream was canceled, which was a fortunate decision.

Leptospirosis “;is not uncommon”; at Nuuanu Stream, according to the state Department of Health.

“;Many of our cases have come from that stream or the area around the stream,”; said spokeswoman Janice Okubo. “;Any freshwater stream in Hawaii has the potential to be contaminated as leptospirosis is endemic here.”;

Asked whether a sign is posted at the stream to warn people, Okubo said, “;We are constantly challenged with people taking down the warning signs or stealing them, so we cannot confirm if a sign is actually still posted.”;

New warning signs were in the works last year (hsblinks.com/o8), but the layout and wording of the signs are still awaiting approval from the state attorney general's office.

However, even if approved, it's not known when the signs might be posted given current budget and staffing issues, Okubo said.

In general the Health Department advises everyone to be cautious about swimming or wading in any freshwater stream or if exposed to potentially contaminated waters (such as floodwaters) or mud, said state epidemiologist Sarah Park.

Don't go into freshwater streams if you have unprotected cuts, and don't put your mouth, nose and eyes underwater.

The leptospira bacteria can enter through mucus membranes and the surface of the eyes, as well as cuts, Park said.

Seek medical care if you develop flulike symptoms up to four weeks after exposure, and inform the physician of the exposure. Flulike symptoms usually appear after nine or 10 days.


To Ala Moana Center, which offered a commemorative key chain to celebrate its 50th anniversary, beginning Aug. 13. I went to the Customer Service area about a week later to buy some of the $1 commemorative envelopes. I asked about the availability of the key chains and was assured there were a lot. On Aug. 24 I returned to pick up a key chain, since I had the required $200 in receipts. Two ladies and I saw the sign stating that the key chains ran out Aug. 23. No more would be ordered. How many key chains were available for the Aug. 13-31 promotion? Ala Moana Center should have been prepared for this and offered something else to be given out until Aug. 31.—Disappointed Shopper

Ala Moana Center ordered 3,000 key rings for the promotion, based on past “;gift with purchase”; redemption statistics, as well as on the budget for the promotion, said Jasmine Tso, marketing and promotions director.

All were “;sold out,”; and no more will be brought in, she confirmed. “;Fiscally,”; Tso said, the center could not accommodate everyone.

She also pointed out that the promotion clearly stated that the key rings would be given out “;while supplies last.”;

“;We are sincerely sorry”; that you were not able to get your key rings, she said, and encouraged you to redeem your receipts earlier in future promotions.