Hawaii reports probable case of monkeypox amid nationwide outbreak
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Department of Health is investigating a probable case of monkeypox in Hawaii.
The DOH said the patient, an Oahu resident, is currently hospitalized in stable condition and showed symptoms and tests consistent with the virus. That person recently traveled to an area with confirmed cases.
Tripler Army Medical Center said Friday it was treating a possible case of monkeypox. A spokesperson initially told Hawaii News Now it was confirmed but later characterized it as “probable.”
If confirmed, it would be the first case in Hawaii associated with a new outbreak in the U.S.
Authorities said the risk of monkeypox spreading in Hawaii remains low, but urged residents to remain vigilant.
“Monkeypox does not spread easily from person to person, and the risk remains low for most Hawaii residents,” said state Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble, in a statement.
“DOH continues case investigation and is coordinating with federal authorities to ensure that Hawaii has the resources we need to prevent and treat monkeypox infection.”
As of June 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed at least 22 monkeypox and orthopoxvirus cases in the U.S.
Health officials are investigating the spread of the virus after cases began emerging in Europe and the U.S.
Monkeypox typically begins with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes. Patients also experience a rash or sores on the face and body. Individuals generally become ill within 21 days of exposure.
“So this may be three to five days of this prodrome of body aches and fever, chills and so forth,” said Epidemiologist of DOH, Joe Elm. “And then once the rash appears or the oral lesions, then that’s going to be the start of the most infectious period of the person.”
“And that’s going to last, you know, seven to 14 days.”
Nationally, the CDC has said that many of the cases were among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, suggesting that some populations may need to take extra precautions.
However, anyone who has been in close contact with someone with monkeypox is at higher risk of infection.
Anyone who suspects they have monkeypox should contact their health care provider immediately.
This story will be updated.
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