- 23 cases are reported on Hawaii Island, including 15 local residents
- Dengue infections have "grown dramatically" in recent years, the WHO reports
Hawaii's Department of Health reports what it calls an outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease on the Big Island, Hawaii, from September through early November.
"Dengue is not endemic to Hawaii," the health department said
. "However, it is intermittently imported from endemic areas by infected travelers."
That said, the vast majority of the cases reported through Friday -- 15 out of 23 total -- involved Hawaii residents, compared to visitors. The state agency noted "this is the first cluster of locally-acquired dengue fever since the 2011 outbreak on Oahu."
People of all ages -- infants, children and adults -- are susceptible to dengue fever, which causes a severe flu-like illness but seldomly leads to death. Those who get it often experience high fevers and other symptoms such as headache; eye, muscle or joint pains; nausea; swollen glands or rashes, symptoms that last about a week, the World Health Organization notes
The WHO reports that dengue infections "have grown dramatically around the world in recent decades," with one estimate suggesting 390 million infections a year. The agency adds that about 3.9 billion people in 128 countries are at risk.
But the United States isn't considered one of those places where a person is in high danger of coming down with dengue.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
, nearly all cases in the 48 continental states came from travelers or immigrants. The last reported such outbreak occurred in 2005 in south Texas, near the Mexican border.