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Hawaiʻi Health Department identifies second probable monkeypox case

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PC: file Hawaiʻi Department of Health

The Hawaiʻi Department of Health today announced it has identified one additional probable case of monkeypox in a Hawaiʻi resident.

The individual is an adult Oʻahu resident who had close contact with the first probable case, according to the DOH.

Testing completed by the State Laboratories Division detected orthopoxvirus—monkeypox is a type of orthopoxvirus. Confirmatory testing for both cases is pending with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“While the risk for most Hawaiʻi residents remains low, we urge individuals with symptoms consistent with monkeypox to contact their healthcare provider,” said Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Nathan Tan in a department press release. “We continue to work closely with providers, federal agencies, and the community as we respond to these cases.”

The rare disease is caused by the monkeypox virus. “Infection begins with flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes. Infection progresses to a rash or sores, often on the hands, feet, chest, face, or genitals. Individuals generally become ill within 21 days of exposure,” according to the DOH.

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The DOH reports that monkeypox can spread through close, prolonged contact with an infected person or animal. This includes “direct contact with body fluids, lesion material, or items used by someone with monkeypox.” Monkeypox can also be spread through large respiratory droplets. “These droplets generally cannot travel more than a few feet, so prolonged face-to-face contact is required,” according to the department.

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“Nationally, the CDC has reported that many cases have been among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men or those who recently travelled abroad or to the continental United States. However, anyone who has been in close contact with someone with monkeypox is at higher risk of infection, regardless of a person’s gender, sexual orientation, or travel history,” according to a DOH press release.

Health officials advise individuals with symptoms consistent with monkeypox infection to immediately contact their healthcare provider; and healthcare providers should immediately report suspected cases to the DOH.

“Providers should be alert for patients who have rash illnesses consistent with monkeypox, especially in those with a recent travel history to areas reporting monkeypox cases and regardless of gender or sexual orientation,” the DOH advised. 

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Providers can click here to read DOH’s June 3 medical advisory for more detailed guidance.

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