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Hawaiʻi Department of Health identifies third probable monkeypox case in Oʻahu resident

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PC: file Hawaiʻi Department of Health

The Hawaiʻi Department of Health has identified an additional probable case of monkeypox in a Hawaiʻi resident.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today confirmed that the first case reported on June 3 tested positive for monkeypox. Confirmatory testing for the second and third cases is pending with the CDC.

The latest case involves an adult Oʻahu resident who attended a social gathering. Officials say the individual did not travel off-island.

“This case does not have a history of travel and we are investigating links between this third case and the first two cases,” said Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Nathan Tan. “Individuals at increased risk should avoid anonymous sexual contact or events where individuals may have close bodily contact with others.”

At this time, risk to most Hawaiʻi residents remains low, according to the DOH. Vaccination is not recommended for the general public, but is considered on an individual basis for close contacts of probable cases.

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DOH is conducting contact tracing and working with federal authorities to order vaccines and therapeutics from the Strategic National Stockpile.

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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,” according to a news release issued by the state Department of Health. “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.”

Monkeypox 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.

“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 be spread through large respiratory droplets. These droplets generally cannot travel more than a few feet, so prolonged face-to-face contact is required,” the DOH advises.

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Individuals with symptoms consistent with monkeypox infection should immediately contact their healthcare provider, according to the DOH.

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 department advises.

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

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