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DOH News Release: DOH identifies probable monkeypox case

Posted on Jun 3, 2022 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

HONOLULU – The Hawaiʻi Department of Health (DOH) has identified one probable case of monkeypox in a Hawaiʻi resident.

The individual is an adult Oʻahu resident and is currently hospitalized in stable condition. The individual presented with symptoms consistent with monkeypox and recently traveled to an area with confirmed cases.

Testing completed by the State Laboratories Division detected orthopoxvirus—monkeypox is a type of orthopoxvirus. Confirmatory testing will be performed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) next week.

“Monkeypox does not spread easily from person to person, and the risk remains low for most Hawaiʻi residents,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble. “DOH continues case investigation and is coordinating with federal authorities to ensure that Hawaiʻi has the resources we need to prevent and treat monkeypox infection.”

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus. Infection begins with flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes, and 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, but it is not sexually transmitted. 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.

Nationally, the CDC has reported that many cases have been among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men.  However, anyone who has been in close contact with someone with monkeypox is at higher risk of infection.

Individuals with symptoms consistent with monkeypox infection should immediately contact their healthcare provider.

Healthcare providers should immediately report suspected cases to 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.

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