First case of monkeypox confirmed in Clark County

The first confirmed case of monkeypox arrived in Clark County on Monday, according to Clark County Public Health.

Public Health was notified Monday morning that a Clark County resident tested positive for monkeypox – an adult male with no recent travel history. According to a press release, the person is isolated at home and general health is being checked.

“While we have identified the first case of monkeypox in Clark County, the risk to the public remains very low,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County Director of Public Health. “Anyone can get monkeypox. But unlike COVID-19, monkeypox virus does not spread easily between people.”

Monkeypox spreads through close contact with an infected person who is showing symptoms. The virus can spread through direct contact with the rash, scabs, or bodily fluids of an infected person; salivation during direct and prolonged contact with an infected person; and contact with bedding, clothing, or other objects that have been contaminated with body fluids or sores of an infected person.

Interactions that do not involve physical contact are not high risk, according to Public Health.

Clark County Public Health is working with the person who tested positive to identify individuals who had close contact with them when they were infectious. Public Health will notify these individuals of their potential exposure and facilitate vaccination for eligible close contacts.

The vaccine may prevent infection or reduce symptoms of infection, but it is only recommended for close contacts who have not been infected, according to Public Health.

Monkeypox often begins with flu-like symptoms including fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue. After a few days, a rash appeared. Then the rash turns into raised, fluid-filled bumps. The rash usually appears on the face, arms, legs, and hands. However, if someone becomes infected during sexual contact, the rash may only be on the genitals or anus, according to Public Health.

Symptoms usually begin seven to 14 days after exposure to an infected person, but can appear as early as five days and up to 21 days after exposure.

People with monkeypox are contagious as soon as they develop symptoms and continue to infect until the rash has completely healed. Most people recover within two to four weeks, but the illness can be serious, especially for immunocompromised people, children, and pregnant women, according to Public Health.

People who feel sick or have any rashes or sores or their partners are sick or have a rash or sores should avoid sex and gatherings, especially if they involve skin-to-skin contact or prolonged face-to-face contact.

People who show symptoms should see a health care provider. Before visiting the medical office, people should let their provider know that they are concerned about monkeypox and whether they have recently been in contact with someone with a similar rash or someone diagnosed with monkeypox.

As of July 22, 83 people have tested positive for monkeypox in Washington, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

To learn more about monkeypox, visit the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the website of the Washington State Department of Health.

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