Mecklenburg County Public Health (MCPH) has confirmed the first case of monkeypox in the County. Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious, viral illness that typically involves flu-like symptoms, swelling of the lymph nodes and a rash that includes bumps that are initially filled with fluid before scabbing over. Illness could be confused with a sexually transmitted infection like syphilis or herpes, or with varicella zoster virus (chickenpox). Most infections last two to four weeks. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) reported the first case in the State last week.
MCPH is working closely with NCDHHS and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the patient’s healthcare providers to identify and notify individuals who may have been in contact with the patient while they were infectious. Monkeypox is typically spread by skin-to-skin contact. The patient is currently isolating at home. No further information will be shared about this case to protect the patient’s privacy.
“Although monkeypox infections remain rare, the CDC is reporting that cases continue to rise across the country,” said Dr. Raynard Washington, MCPH director. “It is very important to be aware of the symptoms of monkeypox and to be vigilant. Individuals with concerning rashes should contact their healthcare provider.”
Since May 2022, 3,308 monkeypox cases have been identified outside of endemic regions worldwide. There have been no deaths related to this outbreak. Epidemiologic investigation of these cases is ongoing. Information about international cases is available from the World Health Organization and information about U.S. cases is available from the CDC.
"Though this is the first confirmed case in the County, we know there are likely other cases,” said Washington. We are encouraging doctors to consider this in people who have a rash or skin lesion that looks like monkeypox."
Monkeypox is transmitted person to person through direct skin-to-skin contact, having contact with an infectious rash, through body fluids or through respiratory secretions. Such contact often occurs during prolonged, face-to-face contact or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling or sex. While anyone can get monkeypox, in the current U.S. outbreak, many of the cases are in men who have sex with men.
People can take basic steps to prevent the spread of monkeypox. If you have an unexplained rash, sores or other symptoms, see your health care provider — if you don’t have a provider or health insurance, visit a public health clinic near you. Keep the rash covered and avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until you have been checked out. Standard household cleaners and detergents are effective at cleaning environmental surfaces and linens.
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