News Scan for Oct 30, 2015

News brief

Hawaii confirms 2 locally acquired dengue infections

Hawaii health officials have confirmed two locally acquired dengue infections and are investigating four probable cases, all on the state's big island of Hawaii.

Further testing is under way at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Hawaii State Department of Health (HSDOH) has sent an alert to clinicians yesterday to report suspected cases, the agency said in a press release.

State Epidemiologist Sarah Park, MD, said dengue fever isn't endemic to Hawaii, but the mosquito that can spread the disease is present in the state. She added that the cluster was likely triggered by an infected traveler passing the virus to the local mosquito population.

Surveillance hasn't found significant mosquito activity in the affected area, but spraying activities with the consent of property owners is under way.

The cases are Hawaii's first local dengue cases confirmed since 2011, Hawaii NewsNow, a television news group based in Honolulu, reported yesterday.
Oct 29 HSDOH press release
Oct 29 Hawaii NewsNow report


Plague case in Oregon raises national total to 16

The Oregon Health Authority's (OHA's) Public Health Division and the Crook County Public Health Department yesterday confirmed a case of bubonic plague in a teenage Crook County girl, the country's 16th plague case this year, according to an OHA news release.

The state has confirmed only eight plague cases since 1995, and none have been fatal.

The girl is thought to have contracted the bubonic form—which affects the lymph nodes—from a flea bite on a hunting trip that began Oct 16. She fell ill on Oct 21 and was hospitalized on Oct 24. She is recovering in an intensive care unit, the OHA said.

"Many people think of the plague as a disease of the past, but it's still very much present in our environment, particularly among wildlife,"said Emilio DeBess, DVM, state public health veterinarian. "Fortunately, plague remains a rare disease, but people need to take appropriate precautions with wildlife and their pets to keep it that way." He recommended avoiding contact with wild rodents and fleas.

Last month New Mexico reported its fourth plague case, which involved septicemic plague in a 73-year-old woman and was the country's 15th plague case.
Oct 29 OHA news release
Sep 25 CIDRAP News scan on New Mexico case

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