A possible new case of monkeypox has been reported in the Tripler Army Medical Center, a well-known medical facility in Honolulu. Experts are investigating the possibility of the virus outbreak, as the first reported case makes its way to the shores of the pacific island.
The patient is a resident of Oahu who recently traveled to an area with confirmed cases. He was admitted last week, and currently showing the most prominent symptoms of monkeypox.
Medical experts are already on the case as they evaluate the situation by fully isolating the patient inside the hospital and monitoring him 24/7. The condition of the patient is reported to be stable.
Since this potential monkeypox case was discovered, the hospital has contacted the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other health organizations.
Monkeypox, an infectious viral disease was discovered in 1958, however, it was only in the 70s that the disease was reported to infect humans. As of now, there are no available vaccines specifically for this disease but smallpox vaccines, cidofovir, ST-246, and vaccinia immune globulin (VIG) are being prescribed as possible controls.
The smallpox vaccine can also provide immunity against monkeypox, but since vaccination stopped in the late 70s after the eradication of this viral disease, little to no protection is held against it in the demographic now.
A few of the well-known symptoms include headache, muscle aches, extreme tiredness, fever, or flu-like symptoms followed by a rash and lesions. Similar to smallpox, it is a variation of the same virus, the orthopoxvirus, which causes all the other “pox.” diseases. The symptoms can appear a week or two after direct exposure to infected individuals.
Although the situation may seem alarming with a possibility of a larger outbreak, specialists assure us that there is no need to worry about it.
“Monkeypox does not spread easily from person to person, and the risk remains low for most Hawaii residents. 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.” says the state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble.
Sarah echoes the statement made by WHO expert Dr. Rosamund Pike who believes that there is very little chance of this disease expanding into a full-blown pandemic, however, since the mode of sexual transmission are still obscure and the infected people may have lesions for two to four weeks (and) they may not be visible to others while still being infectious, she mentions it remains WHO’s priority “to stop the current spread of monkeypox before the disease became entrenched in new regions”.
According to the latest report by CDC, the disease has now been confirmed in 12 states. 31 Americans have contracted monkeypox or are suspected to have it after they tested positive for orthopoxvirus.
A Level 2 alert has been issued to traveling citizens urging them to take caution while coming in close proximity with sick people as well as pets and other animals. CDC also adds that wearing a mask will help protect against Monkeypox.
Post pandemic travel is booming in Hawaii after the state declared COVID as no longer a health emergency but you should still take the highest degree of caution with the ongoing pandemic as just last month, the island of Kauai was moved to the red zone following a surge of COVID cases.
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