Zika virus in Hawaii

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Hawaii
Hawaii

Hawaii is the 50th and most recent state of the United States of America. It is the only U.S. state located in Oceania and the only one composed entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean. Hawaii is the only U.S. state not located in the Americas.

First Zika case in Hawaii

A baby born in January 2016 at a hospital in Hawaii is the first in the United States to be born with Zika virus. The baby is also the first infant born with microcephaly. The state health department, on 18 January 2016 announced that the baby with Zika virus was born at an Oahu hospital. The mother of the baby had likely acquired the Zika virus while she was living in Brazil in May 2015.

State of Emergency

The Governor of Ohio David Ige, on 12 February 2016, declared a state of emergency to combat mosquito-borne illnesses including dengue fever and Zika virus. There have been over 250 cases of dengue fever in Hawaii, but no reported cases of Zika virus which was locally transmitted. The announcement of the state of emergency will help the State receive funds to combat the Zika virus. The State requires funding in the vector control department as the mosquito control and entomology staff slashed from 56 employees in 2009 to 25 positions in 2016. The State is now looking for funding to rebuild staff.

Despite the state of emergency, health officials insist that Hawaii is still a safe place to visit. No travel advisories have been issued and the State has a strong start in number of visitors in 2016.