Wild Sparrow In Hawaii
Tests Positive For WNV

From Patricia Doyle, PhD
From ProMed Mail
Star-Bulletin Homepage
By Mary Vorsino
A wild sparrow found at Kahului Airport has tested positive for West Nile virus in preliminary results, state Health Department officials said. Samples are being sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more testing. State and county officials say they will spray the airport and surrounding area for mosquitoes, which spread the virus to humans, birds and other animals. "We need to respond quickly and forcefully to control this potential public health threat to the state," said state epidemiologist Paul Effler.
Most people who are bitten by an infected mosquito will show no symptoms, the Health Department said. But some can exhibit flu-like symptoms, which typically last a few days. And in rare cases, the virus has been fatal. Before the finding [of the sparrow], Hawaii had been free of the virus. Residents statewide are being asked to eliminate standing water to decrease the risk of mosquitoes breeding. Also, if residents find a dead bird they are asked to notify Health Department authorities. A list of collection sites is available at
Article sent by David Duffy Hawaii-Pacific Island Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit Department of Botany University of Hawaii Manoa
[Up to the present Hawaii and Alaska are the only regions of the United States to have remained free of West Nile virus infection. David Duffy has added the following comment. "This was apparently an ELISA test. The Department of Health (DOH) is to be commended for getting this information out early. The bird was at the Maui airport, but most people have been expecting the first positive to be on Oahu at the Honolulu airport. There are plans for an aggressive effort for widespread aerial spraying, but these were again focused on Oahu. The ground-based effort will fall on the HI-DOH vector control folks. If it fails, Hawaii's endemic bird fauna, already suffering from avian malaria and avian poxvirus, will face the onslaught of West Nile virus." - Mod.CP]
Date: Mon 27 Sep 2004
From: Peter Daszak <>
A comment on the suspected introduction of West Nile virus into Hawaii
In January 2004, a 2-day workshop was held in Honolulu, Hawaii to assess the potential for the introduction of West Nile virus to the islands and its prevention. See: <>
At this meeting, we presented results of a risk assessment of the pathways by which the virus might be introduced. The paper was published in Springer's new peer-reviewed journal, Ecohealth, in June 2004 (Kilpatrick, A.M., Glutzberg, Y., Burgett, J. & Daszak, P. 2004. Quantitative risk assessment of the pathways by which West Nile virus could reach Hawaii. Ecohealth 1: 205-209; available as down-loadable pdf file from <>.
This analysis clearly showed that the most significant potential route of entry is via infected mosquitoes traveling on airplanes from the US mainland. If confirmed, the report in ProMED-mail [West Nile virus, avian - USA (HI): susp 20040925.2648] of suspected West Nile virus in a wild sparrow at Kahului Airport, Hawaii suggests that the analysis was accurate and timely. In the paper, and at the 2-day meeting, we proposed that residual disinsection (the use of insecticides that leave a residue on surfaces) should be mandated for the holds of all planes from regions where West Nile virus has been confirmed, including most of the USA. If the suspected finding of West Nile virus in Hawaii is not confirmed, or, if the outbreak is successfully controlled, we strongly suggest that these measures are put into place with high priority to prevent the public health impact of West Nile virus in Hawaii, and, the potential loss of already threatened endemic Hawaiian avian species.
Dr. Peter Daszak
Executive Director,
Consortium for Conservation Medicine,
Wildlife Trust,
61 Route 9W, Palisades,
New York 10964-8000, USA
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at:
Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
Go with God and in Good Health



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