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Hawaiʻi health officials identify 12th monkeypox case, 1st on Maui

Monkeypox vaccine
Richard Vogel/AP
FILE - Registered pharmacist Sapana Patel loads a syringe with Monkeypox vaccine at a Pop-Up Monkeypox vaccination site on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022, in West Hollywood, Calif. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

The Hawaiʻi Department of Health has identified one additional case of monkeypox, bringing the total number of cases in Hawaiʻi since early June to 12.

It's the first case of monkeypox identified in Maui County. The individual is a Maui resident whose case is associated with out-of-state travel.

Hawaiʻi Island and Kauaʻi have one case each. The remaining nine cases are on Oʻahu.

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.

The White House declared monkeypox a public health emergency on Thursday, which can trigger grant funding and open up more resources for various aspects of a federal response. Public health emergencies last for 90 days but can be extended by Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.

So far, there have been more than 6,616 cases detected in the U.S., but that is likely an undercount, NPR reports.

Vaccinations available statewide

In each county, DOH and health care providers continue to vaccinate eligible individuals. DOH says it has distributed nearly 1,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine.

Individuals currently eligible for vaccination include those with exposure to others with confirmed orthopoxvirus/monkeypox virus within the last 14 days; and gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men and transgender individuals with high risk intimate contact in venues or areas where monkeypox is known to be spreading in the last 14 days.

Those who meet the criteria should call the health department at 808-586-4462 for an appointment.

Appointments are also available on Maui through Malama I Ke Ola Health Center. Call 808-871-7772 for an appointment.

Testing and treatment available through health care providers

Individuals with monkeypox symptoms, including flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, or new or unexplained rash or sores, should immediately contact their health care provider.

Zoe Dym is a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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