Officials at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii have confirmed that they are treating a military beneficiary for probable monkeypox.
The patient, who was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday, is in stable condition, in isolation and is recovering, said Claudia LaMantia, a spokeswoman for the hospital. Officials are waiting for results of tests from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which should be available next week, she said.
Contact tracing is underway for hospital staff and patients who may have been exposed, she said.
Further information about the beneficiary’s status was not immediately available — such as whether the person was active duty, a family member or a retiree.
LaMantia said officials at Tripler will continue to coordinate with the Hawaii Department of Health and with federal agencies. Hawaii Department of Health officials issued a statement Friday about the probable case in a Hawaii resident, but didn’t specify the individual is being treated at Tripler.
The Hawaii health officials stated that initial testing completed by their State Laboratories Division detected orthopoxvirus, and monkeypox is a type of orthopoxvirus. Further testing is required by CDC to confirm whether it is monkeypox.
“Monkeypox does not spread easily from person to person, and the risk remains low for most Hawaiʻi residents,” said Hawaii State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble, in the announcement. “DOH continues case investigation and is coordinating with federal authorities to ensure that Hawaiʻi has the resources we need to prevent and treat monkeypox infection.”
The possible case was first reported by Hawaii News Now. If confirmed, it’s believed to be the first case in Hawaii.
There were 25 confirmed cases of monkeypox in U.S. as of Friday afternoon, according to the CDC website. The first case of monkeypox was reported in Massachusetts on May 18.
In humans, the symptoms of monkeypox are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox. Monkeypox begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion, according to the CDC, and progresses to a rash or sores, often on the hands, feet, chest, face, or genitals. Individuals generally become ill within five to 21 days after exposure. The illness generally lasts for two- to four weeks.
Monkeypox can spread through close, prolonged contact with an infected person or animal.
Anyone with symptoms consistent with monkeypox should immediately contact their health care provider.
The Hawaii Department of Health statement said the patient had recently traveled to an area with confirmed cases.
Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.