DOH: Big Island resident has monkeypox

A Hawaii Island resident with a history of travel to the mainland has contracted monkeypox, according to the state Department of Health.

Another newly reported case is an Oahu resident. This brings the total number of Hawaii cases to eight.


Connections to previously reported cases are under investigation, the DOH said.

“The risk to most Hawaii residents remains low, but with the number of cases growing across the country, we expect to identify more cases in Hawaii,” said Deputy State Epidemiologist Nathan Tan. “We understand a fair amount about how monkeypox spreads—primarily through close, intimate contact. DOH continues to conduct case investigation, coordinate vaccination and treatment, and work with healthcare providers across the state.”

DOH continues to conduct contact tracing and coordinate vaccination and treatment, which can be effective in managing monkeypox infections.

The DOH is using Hawaii’s limited vaccine allocation to vaccinate close contacts of people known to have monkeypox, and for people who may have had high-risk exposures in venues or areas where monkeypox is actively spreading. DOH is arranging statewide vaccine distribution and administration.

Vaccines are not available through health care providers at this time.

While most people diagnosed with monkeypox experience mild to moderate illness, the rash and sores can be itchy and painful. 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 is mainly spread through close, intimate contact with body fluids, lesion material, or items used by someone with monkeypox. Monkeypox may be spread through large respiratory droplets. These droplets generally cannot travel more than a few feet, so prolonged face-to-face contact is required.

Nationwide, the current cases are primarily spreading among social networks of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. In Hawaii, at least some of the cases have been reported among gay or bisexual men, the DOH said.

However, anyone who has close contact with someone with monkeypox is at risk of infection, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

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