Saturday, February 16, 2002

Vegas, Detroit aren't models for Hawaii

This isn't Sin City, a term that many label Las Vegas. The gang-busting gambling proponents continue to pour thousands of dollars to lobbyists to bring legalized gaming to Hawaii. Don't they get the message that Hawaii doesn't want the dice?

We don't need Detroit investors to tell us how to fix our economy. This is an ill-advised attempt by a group of investors who want to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from the pain and suffering of island residents. Bankruptcy, divorce and suicide will be on the rise and many island families will be broken. The promise of thousands of jobs is a tactic of persuasion to make us think this is the right solution to fix our economy. It's not.

This isn't Motor City or Sin City, this is Hawaii -- paradise. This is a peaceful place, not a place marred by high crime and violence, societal ills that gambling will bring.

Steven Miolen

Vote for candidates who support gambling

The time for legal gambling has come to Hawaii. Jobs, jobs, jobs, and budget surpluses instead of debts. There are positive reasons why other states have legal gambling. With our upcoming elections, we can find candidates who will bring Hawaii into the present. What do the people of Hawaii think?

Roger B. Evans
Keaau, Hawaii


"I fell on my knees and kissed the ice. I am so glad what I did here."

Alexei Yagudin
Russian winner of the Olympic gold medal in men's figure skating, after being the first man to earn four 6.0 marks for presentation.

"This is a reproduction, not a resurrection."

Duane Kraemer
Texas A&M researcher, on the university's successful cloning of a house cat. The project, headed by Mark Westhusin of A&M's veterinary medicine school, was funded by a company called Genetic Savings & Clone. The clone's nickname is "cc" -- short for "copycat."

Quarantine still keeps rabies out of Hawaii

The Star-Bulletin's stance that the animal quarantine for rabies should be essentially abolished overlooks many important scientific facts about rabies and the effect it would have on public health and the environment in Hawaii.

The risk of introduction of rabies is real. During 2000, 7,364 cases of rabies in domestic and wild animals in the continental United States and Puerto Rico were reported to the National Centers for Disease Control. From 1995 to 1999, a yearly average of 404 dog and cat rabies cases were confirmed in the U.S. Each year, approximately 40,000 people in the United States undergo post-exposure rabies treatment.

The Indian mongoose is a potentially serious reservoir for the rabies virus in Hawaii. Puerto Rico had 80 rabies cases during 2000, including 59 mongooses, 15 dogs and one cat.

While vaccinations contribute significantly to the reduction of rabies in domestic animals, vaccines are not 100 percent effective. Approximately 1.5 percent of dogs and 0.5 percent of cats attempting to qualify for the 30-day quarantine in Hawaii fail the post-arrival rabies blood test, indicating that even after two rabies vaccinations, a small percentage of dogs and cats are unable to maintain an adequate antibody response.

The World Health Organization's Expert Committee on Rabies recommends that, for areas like Hawaii, dogs and cats be quarantined for four to six months. It is also important to consider that a relaxing of quarantine rules not only will affect dogs and cats from the mainland, but also will apply to pets coming from developing countries where there is little or no rabies surveillance or control efforts.

Hawaii's animal quarantine program is required to be self-sustaining, with the cost borne by the pet owners. In comparison, rabies prevention and control costs in the United States were estimated in 1995 to be around $470 million per year. In 2000, Puerto Rico spent between $700,000 and $1 million for post-exposure medical treatment for humans.

During the past year, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture has been conducting a risk assessment of quarantine options that would allow the confinement period to be further reduced without increasing the risk of rabies introduction.

While we may sympathize with the emotional and financial impacts of rabies quarantine, the department strongly believes that any revision to the current program must be scientifically based. Should the rabies virus become established in Hawaii, the public health, environmental and economic impacts would be substantial relative to quarantine.

James J. Nakatani
State Department of Agriculture


Published by Oahu Publications Inc., a subsidiary of Black Press.

Don Kendall, Publisher

Frank Bridgewater, managing editor 529-4791;
Michael Rovner,
assistant managing editor 529-4768;
Lucy Young-Oda, assistant managing editor 529-4762;

John Flanagan, contributing editor 294-3533;

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