- Monkeypox has flu-like symptoms along with painful rashes in the genital areas.
- The county health department provides vaccines free of charge.
The first case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Cumberland County, the Cumberland County Health Department announced Monday.
The person who tested positive is self-isolating at home, county health director Jennifer Green said at a Monday afternoon news conference. The department has identified people who have been in close contact with this patient and is contacting them, she said.
Citing patient privacy, Green would not say how many people were in close contact with the patient.
This infection was discovered because the patient requested testing from the county health department last week, Green said. It takes several days to process a monkeypox test and the results came back on Monday, she said.
Citing patient privacy, Green would not say where or how the patient was infected.
Patients with monkeypox should remain isolated as long as they have rashes and pimples that have not healed or become crusted over. “Once…it heals or scabs, then they’re no longer infectious and we’ll get them out of isolation,” Green said.
Symptoms of Monkey Pox
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, monkeypox belongs to the same family of viruses that cause smallpox, but has milder symptoms.
The CDC says most people with monkeypox experience flu-like symptoms and a rash that may look like pimples or blisters. The rash may be painful or itchy.
The rash can be on or near the genitals and anus, according to the CDC, but can also be on the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.
“The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before it heals,” the CDC says.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reports that the monkeypox virus can be transmitted from person to person through infected bodily fluids and objects that have come into contact with the infected fluids.
Vaccines available:Cumberland County Health Department offers monkeypox vaccine to eligible residents
Symptoms and treatment:Addressing Monkeypox Myths: An Overview of Symptoms, Treatment, and Other Common Questions
There are 60 confirmed cases of the virus in North Carolina and 5,189 cases in the United States as of Monday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The Cumberland County Department of Public Health continues to work with federal, state, and local partners to investigate and monitor the current national outbreak and its impacts locally,” a health department news release read.
How to Get Vaccinated in Cumberland County
The Department of Health is scheduling monkeypox vaccination appointments. The vaccine helps prevent monkeypox and its symptoms.
Vaccines are free. Call 910-433-3600 to request an immunization appointment. As of Monday night, Green said, people can usually get their shots the same day they call, and she thinks the department has enough to meet demand from eligible people.
Residents can also call 910-433-3600 to request a testing appointment.
Due to limited supply, vaccines are only given to people deemed eligible because they are most at risk, Green said. Specifically:
- Anyone who has been in close physical contact in the past 14 days with someone diagnosed with monkeypox.
- Anyone who knows their sexual partner has been diagnosed with monkeypox.
- Men who have sex with men or transgender people, and who in the past 90 days have:
- Has had multiple or anonymous sexual partners.
- Or who have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection.
- Or who received medicine to prevent HIV infection.
Mainly gay men so far, but anyone can catch it
Although the disease has been widely reported in the United States in sexually active gay men, “anyone can get monkeypox,” Green said. Epidemics that start in one population group can move to other groups, she said.
“So we want everyone in the community to know what monkeypox is, what the signs and symptoms are.”
Green said monkeypox is spread through close contact between individuals.
It would be several hours of face-to-face contact, she said.
“Or it could be contact that happened through intimate physical contact, like kissing, sex, or cuddling,” Green said. “It can also be transmitted skin-to-skin or through indirect objects like sheets.” The contact must be prolonged, she says.
Residents with rashes, sores, or other unexplained symptoms should keep the rash covered and avoid sex or intimate relationships with anyone until you have been evaluated by a medical professional .
North Carolina senior reporter Paul Woolverton can be reached at 910-261-4710 and email@example.com.