DOH: Monkeypox now ‘in the community’ as 3rd probable case reported in Hawaii
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii has reported a third probable case of monkeypox, and Health Department officials said the patient has no travel history and appears to have contracted the virus after attending a social gathering.
Authorities said the case means monkeypox is now likely “in the community.”
The state Health Department announced the news Thursday, and officials said they’re still looking for a link between the third patient and the first two.
“If we can’t link it to any of the existing cases ... then that would mean that they got it somewhere else from in the community. So that’s why we’re saying that this is very significant,” said deputy state Epidemiologist Dr. Nathan Tan.
He added the state has ordered vaccine that can ease the symptoms of monkeypox.
Hawaii reported its first probable case of monkeypox about a week ago. The second case was linked to the first one.
All three probable cases are adults who live on Oahu.
State Health Department officials said the third case is a worrisome sign.
But while they urged vigilance, they said the virus remains a low risk to the general public. Monkeypox typically requires very close contact to pass from one individual to another.
The cases are part of an outbreak of monkeypox emerging in Europe and the U.S.
So far, the CDC has reported at least 45 cases of monkeypox nationwide.
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.
The CDC has said that many of the cases are among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, suggesting 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 and should monitor symptoms closely.
This story will be updated.
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