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State briefs for February 19

2 men contract rare, potentially lethal infection

HONOLULU — Two people diagnosed with a rare and potentially lethal type of leptospirosis on Oahu were hospitalized after their organs began shutting down.

Dr. Scott Miscovich, a family medicine physician in Kaneohe, said he was alarmed after treating both men for Weil’s disease, a severe type of the bacterial infection that can cause organ failure and death.

Both men had small cuts on their feet and walked through muddy waters before getting flu-like symptoms about a week later.

The doctor alerted the state Health Department after laboratory tests came back positive for Weil’s disease. After a series of antibiotics, both men were discharged from the hospital, but are still recovering.

Miscovich says he wants people to be aware that the symptoms can act like the flu. He says a lot of people will try to let it run its course but that early treatment is important. He said doctors should check with patients to see if they were exposed to waterfalls, streams and ponds or other standing water and mud that house the bacteria.

The aggressive form of leptospirosis is fatal in 10 percent of cases, Miscovich said, adding there are only 200 cases diagnosed in the United States each year, half of them in Hawaii.

Mainlanders
moving to state
add to homelessness

HONOLULU — A new report from Hawaii’s largest homeless service provider says the number of people traveling to Oahu and then becoming homeless is growing.

The Institute for Human Services says 209 people from throughout the mainland showed up at one of its shelters last year looking for help. That’s up from 165 people in 2017.

The vast majority were single men, many of whom were on the island less than three months.

Spokesman Kimo Carvalho says about 10 percent of the state’s homeless population recently traveled to Hawaii.

The institute developed a relocation program for homeless to return to their home states. Donations from Hawaii’s tourism industry are used to cover half the airfare while the homeless person is responsible the rest.

Police investigate deaths of couple found on beaches

WAILUA, Kauai — Police on Kauai opened a homicide investigation after finding the bodies of a recently married couple on separate beaches.

It’s not clear how the two died.

Tia Obrero of Koloa was found on Kitchens Beach at about 6 a.m. Thursday. Preliminary evidence indicated the 26-yar-old might have been killed as a result of an assault. She was reported missing three hours earlier.

Michael Blackstad was found on a rocky shoreline behind Kauai Beach Resort at 2 p.m. that afternoon after a land-and-sea search was launched for him.

Police say the two were thought to be together when Obrero went missing.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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