Categorized | Dengue Fever, Health

Panaewa Rainforest Zoo controlling mosquitos, primate exhibit deemed safe

Dr. Virginia Pressler, Director of Health for the State of Hawaii, explained during the community meeting Monday (see video) that Dengue Fever can infect primates. A response from Hawaii County Parks and Recreation Department upon a Hawaii 24/7 inquiry regarding the primate exhibits at the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens.

The Department of Parks and Recreation has taken a proactive approach to controlling mosquito populations at the Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens. Zoo staff have added mosquito fish to the former tiger pond, which the recent rains have filled with water. These type of fish already live in the zoo’s other pond, located near the entrance, so they are helping to control mosquitos there.

Also, zoo staff will be applying a product called Bt, a bacterial agent that kills mosquito larva. This product will be applied to bromeliads that trap water. Although the pond in the tiger habitat has mosquito fish living in it the zoo has decided to drain the pond to eliminate the standing body of water. The tiger habitat remains unoccupied since the death of the zoo’s white tiger Namaste in 2014. The zoo is continuing to investigate getting another tiger for the exhibit.

Please note that Department of Health has said the mosquitoes that carry Dengue Fever are most active in the early-morning and early-evening hours. The zoo and gardens are closed during these periods.

The zoo’s primate exhibit remains open, and the monkeys have not been tested for Dengue Fever. Please see this link… that talks about Dengue Fever in primates. The pathogenesis in primates section cites multiple studies that found no signs of Dengue Fever in infected primates. Also, the researchers were unable to transmit Dengue Fever from infected primates to volunteering humans via mosquitoes.

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