What You Need To Know About Dengue

Earlier this month, Governor David Ige declared a state of emergency to fight mosquito borne illnesses including dengue fever and the Zika virus.  We urge all of our Hawaii Island members to take preemptive measures to prevent from getting or spreading the virus.

Below are a few questions and answers about Dengue fever:

Are the symptoms of dengue fever the same for everyone?

Some people who get dengue fever won’t develop any symptoms. Others will experience very severe symptoms, including abnormal bleeding and low blood pressure.

Severe dengue could be deadly, which is why state health officials are urging anyone who suspects they might have dengue fever to see a doctor.

Health officials say they haven’t seen any cases of severe dengue in this outbreak. All reported cases have been mild. But even a mild case can keep someone out of work or school for a week. Symptoms of dengue fever include fever, headache, eye and joint pain, and rash.

In other words, said Dr. Melissa Viray, state deputy epidemiologist, “It can run the gamut.”

Can someone get dengue fever more than once?

Dengue fever is a virus, which means once you have it, you develop an immunity.

But there are four types of dengue fever, so that means when you get dengue fever, you only develop immunity to one type of of the virus.

Technically, you could get dengue fever four times – once for each type. But that’s rare. And the good news is that the Hawaii cases have so far all been one type – called type 1 dengue.

Is there a dengue fever vaccine?

There is a vaccine, and it’s just been made available in Mexico. It’s not in the United States, though – and health officials aren’t exactly clamoring for it. That’s because while dengue fever is an occasional concern here in the islands, it’s a huge public health threat across central and Latin America.

What can be done to reduce the risk of getting dengue fever?

Health officials say you can do two things to protect yourself: Guard against bites and reduce mosquito populations on your property. That means wearing mosquito repellent, and long pants and long sleeves outdoors. To reduce mosquito populations, get rid of standing water on your property and clean out your gutters.

What should I do if I think I have dengue fever?

State health officials say anyone who suspects they might have dengue fever should see a doctor. That’s because while most people experience mild dengue fever symptoms, some people can develop severe dengue. Again, Hawaii hasn’t seen any cases of severe dengue, yet. But officials say residents shouldn’t take any chances.

“We want people to seek care,” said Viray, of the Health Department.

Are family pets at risk of developing dengue fever?

Family pets can get the dengue fever virus through mosquito bites, but they won’t develop any symptoms and they can’t pass the virus onto humans or other pets.

Is there anything you can do after getting bitten by a mosquito to reduce your chances of getting dengue?

If you’ve been bitten by an infected mosquito, you could get dengue — and there’s nothing you can do to reduce your risk. Health officials say your best bet is preventing bites in the first place. Use mosquito repellent, wear protective clothing, drain or dump standing water, and fix window screens.

If you get dengue, does the virus stay in your system and are there residual effects?

The dengue virus stays in a person’s blood for about a week, and then the body produces antibodies that get rid of the virus. Those antibodies remain in a person’s body forever.

There are no well-established long-term effects from dengue fever, according to health officials. However, some patients do report some effects, like hair loss, chronic fatigue and depression.

HMSA Plan Changes Effective April 1, 2016

By now, all eligible District 17 members that have HMSA should have received the notice in the mail regarding upcoming changes in their plans.  All changes take effect on April 1, 2016.  If you haven’t received your notice or you are unsure as to how it would affect you, please call the Health and Welfare Trust Fund at 847-1289 or 800-660-9126.

You may also call HMSA at 1 (800) 776-4672 toll free or the Trust Fund office in Alameda at 800-251-5014.

Ka Makana Alii

Phase 1 of DeBartolo Development’s $500 million, 67 acre mixed-used mall, Ka Makana Alii,  has been contracted to signatory contractor, Nordic PCL.  Ka Makana Alii is slated to open later this year and is expected to feature 100 retail tenants – including a 103,000-square-foot Macy’s, as well as a 100,000-square-foot Hampton Inn & Suites Hotel.

Congratulations Nordic PCL on landing this huge project.  Let’s keep the jobs coming in for our members!

Congratulations to Hawaiian Dredging

In April 2015, the Department of Transportation picked Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co., Inc. for a $290 million project on Maui that included roadway improvements and building the Consolidated  Car Rental (CONRAC) Facility at Kahului Airport.  In December 2015, that amount was raised another $41,394,018, making the project worth $331,394,018 for the year, thus making HDCC the top contractor for the month of December.

Good job HDCC!  More jobs for our members!

What are the major reasons the rail project’s costs have gone up?

HART CEO Dan Grabauskas answers community questions about rail transit.

The recent projected cost increases are due in part to lengthy legal challenges and the construction and other delays they caused, which have resulted in HART now calling for bids at a time when construction costs have risen dramatically and are now among the highest in the nation.  In addition, GET revenue forecast for the project is running behind by about $40 million, and HART has pledged not to use federal funds that have been going to TheBus, which has left us short another $210 million originally budgeted for the project.  The extension of the GET surcharge by five years will help HART meet the projected shortfall.

Visit the project webiste http://www.HonoluluTransit.org for more information.