Already Struggling With Dengue, Hawaii Braces Itself For Zika | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


Already Struggling With Dengue, Hawaii Braces Itself For Zika

The mosquito-borne Zika virus could hit Hawaii especially hard if it arrives in the Aloha State, according to an expert from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While a widespread outbreak of Zika in the Hawaiian islands remains unlikely at the moment, the state is at higher risk because of its tropical climate and large number of foreign travelers. And many experts are voicing serious concerns about the state's ability to handle such an event, should it occur.

Hawaii is already battling its largest outbreak of dengue fever since the 1940s, a disease that is carried by the same species of mosquito that carries Zika.

In a December assessment of Hawaii's response to the current dengue outbreak, Lyle Petersen, director of the CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, said there are "critical deficiencies" within the Hawaii Department of Health that should be "urgently addressed."

"Introductions of other mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika and chikungunya are likely and will require entomologic expertise at the State Department of Health that currently does not exist,” Peterson wrote in December. “I am concerned about staff fatigue and a potential crisis if another health event develops.”

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