Bad news for anyone planning to escape the cold weather in Hawaii: The Big Island has seen 10 confirmed cases of dengue fever recently, West Hawaii Today reports. Both residents and visitors have been afflicted, with symptoms coming on any time from mid-September through last week. Dengue fever is not endemic to Hawaii, but these cases were spread by local mosquitoes, Hawaii News Now reports. Officials are trying to figure out where the disease, which causes fever, rash, and severe head, eye, joint, bone, and muscle pain, originated.
The illness typically lasts one to two weeks. "Most of the people will have what we call mild to moderate symptoms and they will recover," says the state epidemiologist. "However, there is a small percentage that can develop severe dengue." As Quartz notes, Hawaii has seen 23 total cases of dengue this year, but the recent 10 are particularly troublesome since they were caused by local mosquitoes. That means the risk for an epidemic is high—and that could push tourists away from Hawaii. A 2001 outbreak in Maui lasted five months, and this one may get even more attention: The star of a web video series called "Internet Killed Television" believes she came down with dengue fever after returning from Hawaii, and the series has been documenting her illness. (Read more Hawaii stories.)