Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Hosts Telephone Town Hall for Community Dialogue on Dengue, Zika, Other Mosquito-Borne Illnesses

May 11, 2016
Press Release

Honolulu, HI—This evening, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) hosted an interactive “Telephone Town Hall” meeting with residents of Hawaii's Second Congressional District to discuss dengue fever, Zika, and other mosquito borne illnesses. Expert guests Chief Darryl Oliveira from Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense and State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park were featured on the call to share important updates with listeners and respond to their live questions and concerns.

“We had nearly 5,000 people from across my district join our Telephone Town Hall tonight, where they were able to get updates on the latest situation, as well as answers to their questions and concerns,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. “There were important questions about how the state and our community can gather lessons learned from Hawaiʻi Island’s dengue outbreak and apply them going forward, what preventive steps are important for members of our community to continue to take, as well as some startling facts about the Zika virus.  The reality is, Hawaiʻi is a gateway to the Asia-Pacific and makes us susceptible to visitors who may be carrying different illnesses.  It’s important for us to learn from Hawaiʻi Island’s recent outbreak, remain vigilant, and work together to make sure these mosquito-borne illnesses are not allowed to take hold in our communities.”

Other topics of discussion included additional information on mosquito-borne illnesses, how they are contracted, what the symptoms and side effects include, how to prevent these illnesses, and what can be done to alleviate mosquito breeding areas. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard called in from Washington, DC; Dr. Sarah Park called in from Honolulu; and Chief Darryl Oliveira called in from Hilo. They reported on the status of the dengue fever outbreak on the Big Island, as well as what is being done at the federal, state, and county levels to protect Hawaiʻi residents and guests from a future outbreak.
The photos below from today’s Telephone Town Hall are available here for download.

Above: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard hosts a Telephone Town Hall meeting on May 11, 2016.

The May 11, 2016 Telephone Town Hall meeting hosted by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard featured expert guests Chief Darryl Oliveira from Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense (shown on the call above) and State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park.

Recently, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard voted to accelerate development of Zika virus vaccines and treatment and hosted a roundtable with leading local, national, and international experts engaged in dengue and Zika virus research, readiness, and response. She spoke on the House floor to urge support for and passage of President Obama’s emergency request for $1.8 billion to prepare and respond to the Zika virus.  The congresswoman also called for federal funding to fight dengue fever in Hawaiʻi, carried by the same Aedes aegypti mosquitoes as the Zika virus. At the end of January, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard called on Hawaiʻi Governor David Ige to declare this outbreak a state of emergency and to deploy State resources, including the National Guard, to assist with mosquito abatement, public information, clearing of mosquito breeding areas, and providing completely free and accessible testing for those with suspected symptoms.  She has been meeting with state leaders, Hawaiʻi County officials and Civil Defense, military personnel, experts in the private sector and at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and listening to concerned citizens across the state, working to protect the people of Hawaiʻi from dengue fever—a debilitating disease that has no vaccine, treatment, or cure—and other mosquito-borne illnesses.

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