Hagåtña, Guam – The Office of the Governor and the Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) have been notified of the first case of Monkeypox on Guam, imported by an incoming traveler. Confirmation of the individual’s illness was made by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on September 11, 2022. The individual, whose name will not be released to preserve their privacy, arrived on Guam on September 10, 2022. The traveler is cooperative and remains in isolation. The individual indicated they do not need medical attention and is being monitored for any changes in their condition.
DPHSS staff will confer with the individual’s healthcare provider to confirm the onset date of symptoms to calculate the appropriate isolation period. Once the onset date of symptoms is confirmed, DPHSS staff will calculate the isolation period and inform the individual of the end date of isolation to protect the public from the risk of infection. DPHSS has further launched a case investigation to identify and notify any possible close contacts.
“Upon notification of a confirmed imported case of Monkeypox, the Department of Public Health and Social Services team, led by Chima Mbakwem, engaged quickly into action to locate the individual and place the individual under surveillance. The traveler is properly isolated and does not pose a danger to the local community,” said Governor Lou Leon Guerrero. “All parties are cooperative, and we ask that the public stay aware and informed on the signs and symptoms of Monkeypox. Our administration continues to keep alert of the evolving global situation, as we closely monitor transmission trends to bolster our state of readiness and response.”
According to the CDC, Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as the variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.
People with monkeypox get a rash that may be located on or near the genitals or anus and could be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.
- The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
- The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.
Other symptoms of monkeypox can include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Muscle aches and backache
- Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
You may experience all or only a few symptoms:
- Sometimes, people have flu-like symptoms before the rash.
- Some people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms.
- Others only experience a rash.
Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:
- Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox.
- Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces used by someone with monkeypox.
- Contact with respiratory secretions.
This direct contact can happen during intimate contact. A person with monkeypox can spread it to others from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2–4 weeks.
When to Get Tested
- Currently, testing is only recommended if you have a rash consistent with monkeypox.
- If you think you have monkeypox or have had close personal contact with someone who has monkeypox, consider taking precautions and visit a healthcare provider to help you decide if you need to be tested for monkeypox.
Where to Get Tested
- Only a healthcare provider can order a monkeypox test. The healthcare provider may take a specimen and send it to a lab for testing or they may send you to a lab for both specimen collection and testing.
- Contact your health care provider for medical questions. If you do not have health insurance, contact the Guam Community Health Center at 671-635-7525/6 to find out what your testing options are.