Kauai News

DOH Reports 4 New Monkeypox Cases Statewide

Posted August 24, 2022, 10:25 AM HST

The Hawaiʻi Department of Health is reporting four additional cases of monkeypox, one of which was identified on the Big Island.

According to DOH, the Hawaiʻi Island resident diagnosed with the virus is related to community exposure. Two of the cases are Oahu residents and another a Maui resident. The cases identified on Oʻahu and Maui remain under investigation.

This brings the total number of cases reported in Hawaiʻi from June 3 to 22. DOH continues to conduct contact tracing and follow-up with all reported cases.

“With nearly 16,000 monkeypox cases reported in the United States, it’s expected that we will see more cases in Hawaiʻi,” said Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Nathan Tan. “We continue to work to conduct contact tracing and follow-up with all cases. We encourage all eligible individuals to get vaccinated to stop the spread of monkeypox and protect our community.”

The JYNNEOS vaccine is available statewide to Hawaiʻi residents 18 and older. Vaccination eligibility includes:

  • Close contact in the last 14 days with a person with known or suspected monkeypox infection
  • Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men and transgender individuals who have multiple or anonymous sex partners
  • Persons with severe immune compromise (e.g., advanced or poorly controlled HIV infection, active cancer treatment, high-dose steroids) or certain skin conditions, such as eczema
  • A household member or sex partner at high risk for monkeypox.

DOH has received approximately 4,400 doses of JYNNEOS and continues to order Hawaiʻi’s full allocation from the federal government. Nearly 1,800 doses have been administered.

JYNNEOS is a two-dose series administered 28 days apart. Individuals eligible for a second dose are encouraged to make an appointment.

According to the DOH, the risk to most Hawaiʻi residents remains low. 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 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 Hawaiʻi, at least some of the cases have been reported among gay or bisexual men. However, anyone who has close contact with someone with monkeypox is at risk of infection, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Individuals with monkeypox symptoms, including flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, or new or unexplained rash or sores, should immediately contact their healthcare provider. Testing and treatment are available through healthcare providers.

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