On August 18, Alamance County Health Department received notification of its first positive case of monkeypox. The affected individual is currently in isolation at home. To protect the individual’s privacy, no further information about them will be released. Alamance County Health Department is working to identify any close contacts. A close contact is defined as anyone who has sustained close personal physical contact with an infected person.
According to the CDC, monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox. Symptoms can include flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes, as well as a rash that looks like pimples, blisters, or scabs. The rash may be painful or itchy. Symptoms are typically seen within three weeks of exposure, and the illness lasts two to four weeks.
“We have prepared for the potential of monkeypox cases in Alamance County. Our public health response team has been in contact with the affected individual and that person is complying with all necessary control measures and cleaning guidelines,” said Alamance County Health Director Tony Lo Giudice.
The Health Department urges individuals to take the following standard precautions, as directed by the CDC, to help protect themselves and others from this virus:
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
- Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox.
- Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with monkeypox.
- Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used.
- Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
- Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
- Wash your hands often.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.
Alamance County residents are encouraged to use reputable sources of information to learn more about monkeypox, such as the CDC or NC DHHS. Residents are also encouraged to contact their health care provider if they have any unexplained rash, sores, or other symptoms that could possibly be related to monkeypox.