There is currently an ongoing outbreak of monkeypox worldwide. Monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus and it’s primarily spread through close, skin to skin contact with someone who has a monkeypox rash. It can also be spread by contact with fabrics, objects or surfaces that have been used by someone who has the virus and by contact with respiratory secretions through face-to-face contact, like kissing.
Reported Cases in Lancaster County – 3
For state, national and global case counts, go to cdc.gov/monkeypox.
It’s important to be aware that this virus has been identified in our area and we could see additional cases. The Health Department recommends that anyone who has an unexplained rash or other monkeypox symptoms contact their healthcare provider to be evaluated.
- A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appear on the face, inside the mouth and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals or anus. Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash. Find pictures of monkeypox rash at https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/symptoms.html
- Muscle aches or backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
Symptoms usually start within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus. The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. This process can take several weeks.
Anyone who has close physical contact with someone who is infected is at risk.
People who believe they were exposed to monkeypox or think they have symptoms should contact their healthcare provider immediately to be evaluated and tested if needed.
There are steps people can take to help prevent the spread of monkeypox:
- Avoid skin to skin contact with someone who has a rash that looks like monkeypox.
- Avoid contact with any materials, like bedding or towels, used by a person with monkeypox.
- Wash hands often with soap and water often or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after using the bathroom.
There is no specific treatment for monkeypox but some antiviral medications have been used effectively. Vaccination is recommended for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and those who are at higher risk of being exposed to monkeypox. The health department has received a limited amount of JYNNEOS vaccine – a two-dose series with the second dose given 28 days after the first dose.
More information on monkeypox – cdc.gov/monkeypox
Frequently asked questions - https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/faq.html
Information for healthcare providers - https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/clinicians/index.html
DHHS/CDC Health Alert Network updates - dhhs.ne.gov/han
If you have more questions about monkeypox, please contact LLCHD’s Communicable Disease Program at 402-441-8053.