Wednesday, October 10, 2001

Dengue fever blood
testing to be done
at Pearl City labs

The tests had been done in
Puerto Rico; confirmed cases at 39

Star-Bulletin staff

Testing blood samples for dengue fever soon will be done at the state Laboratories Division in Pearl City instead of sending them to the Centers for Disease Control laboratory in Puerto Rico.

Division Chief Vernon Miyamoto said chemicals and approved methods of testing for the viral disease are being sent here from the CDC dengue lab. Establishing the testing capability here will shave about three to four days from the process, he said.

The number of confirmed dengue fever cases rose to 39 from 35 yesterday as vector control crews continued spraying permanone at sites of suspected cases on all islands.

Crews have been focusing on East Maui around Hana, where more than 350 residences and two schools have been sprayed, the state Health Department said.

All four new cases were on Maui, the site of all but one of the cases confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Kauai has one confirmed case.

The department was also investigating 131 reports of illnesses and 10 suspected cases that have tested positive on preliminary screening tests.

Most of the suspected cases -- two each on Oahu and Kauai and six on Maui -- appear to have some link to the Hana area, the Health Department said.

Meanwhile, the House Health Committee was to hold a public briefing on the outbreak today at 10 a.m. in the state Capitol Room 329.

The Health Department expects to spend $1.36 million through March to combat the viral disease on medical and educational fronts, department spokeswoman Janet Okubo said.

An education campaign has been ongoing on Maui, Kauai and Oahu. The Big Island will begin to distribute brochures to all public and charter schools today, with 12 community meetings planned for East Hawaii and more in the works for West Hawaii.

Symptoms of dengue fever include high fever, severe headaches, body and joint pain, vomiting and rash. The virus is passed via mosquito bite.

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