Tuesday, Oct. 03, 2023|
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A single probable case of monkeypox was discovered on Oahu, state officials announced Friday.
The affected individual, an adult Oahu resident, was hospitalized in stable condition, the Department of Health said. The person had recently “traveled to an area with confirmed cases.”
Further details about the individual were not released.
The testing done by the state Laboratories Division detected traces of orthopoxvirus, or monkeypox. The CDC, based in Atlanta, will provide alternative testing next week to confirm.
Monkeypox is a rare virus that includes flu-like symptoms — fever, headache, muscle aches and exhaustion — and swelling of the lymph nodes. Symptoms then progress to a rash on the face and body.
As of Friday, 22 confirmed monkeypox cases have been reported nationwide, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Monkeypox does not spread easily from person to person, and the risk remains low for most Hawaii residents,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble. “The 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.”
While a probable case of monkeypox was been identified in Hawaii, state officials advise that the risk for Big Islanders getting infected is low.
“There are no cases identified on Hawaii Island at this time,” said Katie Chang, Department of Health spokesperson.
Monkeypox can spread through close, prolonged contact with an infected person or animal, but it is not sexually transmitted, the press release continued.
“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,” a press release explained. Therefore, anyone who has been in close contact with someone with monkeypox is at higher risk of infection.
Health officials advise anyone with symptoms to contact their health care provider immediately.
Health care providers should then 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,” the DOH said.
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