The Stanly County Health Department was informed of the first confirmed case of monkeypox in the county this past Friday. The infected individual is currently isolated at home, though the health department is working with the person to identify any potential close contacts or additional infected parties. At this time, the Stanly County Health Department is protecting the individual’s identity and is not offering any further personal information.
News of this latest outbreak broke less than two months after the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) reported the first case of monkeypox in North Carolina on June 23 of this year. As of last Friday, there have been 346 confirmed cases of monkeypox in North Carolina. Since May, the United States has counted for roughly 19,000 instances of monkeypox infection out of the over 50,000 cases currently that have been reported worldwide.
“The threat to Stanly County from monkeypox is extremely low,” explained David Jenkins, Stanly County Health and Human Services Director, “but we still encourage all residents to know the symptoms and be aware of the risk factors.”
According to a press release from the Stanly County Health Department, the most common way to get monkeypox is through close and sustained skin-to-skin contact, including but not limited to intimate and sexual contact. In addition, the virus can also spread through contact with body fluids such as saliva or fluid from the lesions of infected individuals.
At this time, monkeypox is regarded by health professionals to be rarely fatal. Most infected individuals get better on their own and do not require extensive treatment. Individuals with monkeypox that do not have symptoms cannot spread the virus to others, and the risk to the public is still considered to be low at this time.
Monkeypox symptoms are expected to start within three weeks of exposure to the virus. Based on what medical professionals have observed so far of the infectious disease, the current list of symptoms includes fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle and back aches, headache, respiratory symptoms, and a rash that is typically located near the genitals or anus but can appear on such places as hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.
At this time, the Stanly County Health Department recommends that individuals prevent contracting monkeypox by avoiding close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox, avoiding contacting objects that a person with monkeypox has used, and washing their hands often.
Individuals who contract monkeypox cab expect the illness to last from roughly two to four weeks. People who have been exposed to someone with monkeypox or feel that they are eligible to receive the vaccine are encouraged to call the county health department at (704) 982-9171 for screening and scheduling. For more information about vaccine eligibility, please visit http://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/monkeypox.