Health officials keeping watch of rising cases of Monkeypox
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Monkeypox is slowly spreading around the country with close to six thousand cases being reported in the United States, and 48 states including Nebraska has confirmed positive cases, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Nebraska, there are 10 confirmed cases but health officials are not taking those small numbers lightly. The World Health Organization has declared Monkeypox a global health emergency, with more than 70 countries infected by the virus.
“Monkey Pox is a virus and a distant relative of Small Pox. It’s not as deadly as Small Pox, at least that’s what we know right now. It can be very severe and cause some severe pain. Monkey Pox can start out with fever, headache, the usual symptoms when you’re not feeling well. Then there’s a rash that develops and that rash is more of a blister like rash,” said Teresa Anderson, Health Director of Central District Health Department.
Direct contact is the common way but far from the only way Monkeypox can spread. According to the CDC, touching infected fabric or surfaces can cause it to spread. A pregnant women can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta, but it’s not just humans who can carry the virus. Animals can transmit the virus to a person if they are bitten or scratched; it can also be transmitted through infected meat.
“People can get infected by touching the laundry or sheets of someone who has these lesions that are draining. They can also get infected with closed mouth to mouth contact, like kissing is one way it can spread; but basically its contact,” said Anderson.
The blisters from Monkeypox allows the virus to contaminate any surface an infected individuals touches; although cases are low at the moment Nebraska should still air on the side of caution.
“Good hand washing is always essential. If you develop any type of rash that’s suspicious, it’s different than you had before especially if it’s in the genital or anal area or if feel really lousy and start to get blisters on your hands or anywhere else, you should seek medical care. That way we can diagnosis it quickly and then treat it properly,” said Anderson.
Monkeypox cases are increasing each week and a vaccine is available for individuals deemed to be high-risk.
“One of the things we’re watching closely in public health and one of the things we face every day is people believing they’re not at risk, or that they won’t catch it, or that they’re immune to the whole situation and that’s simply isn’t the truth.”
The Central District Health Department now has 10 doses of the vaccine to fight Monkeypox.
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