In an effort to put a halt to the spread of mosquito-borne illness in Hawaii, Gov. David Ige put into place an emergency proclamation on Feb. 12.
The proclamation includes both dengue fever and the Zika virus -- the latter being the major worldwide threat at the moment. A Hawaiian infant was recently diagnosed with microcephaly, which is caused by the mother being exposed to or having the Zika virus. Microcephaly causes infants to have unusually small heads and can hinder brain development. The mother of the infant had been exposed to Zika while living in Latin America during her pregnancy.
The decision from Ige comes on the heels of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's to open its emergency operations center to level one. The CDC did this in order to slow or stop an outbreak of the virus, which is expected to happen in the U.S.
“There have been no locally acquired Zika cases in the U.S. or Hawaii, and we’d like to keep it that way,” Ige said. “This is about getting in front of the situation across the state. I will be coordinating planning efforts with the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, all county mayors and Civil Defense coordinators.”
Cases have appeared in the U.S. and Hawaii. They were acquired, however, in Latin America.