Health department: Monkeypox reported in Alabama

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The Alabama Department of Public Health and Mobile County Health Department today announced they’ve identified the first case of monkeypox in the state.

ADPH said the patient’s specimen was tested by the ADPH Bureau of Clinical Laboratories, which is part of the Laboratory Response Network that responds to public health emergencies.

So far in the U.S., about 1,470 cases have been identified across 44 states. More are expected, but monkeypox doesn’t spread easily between people because it requires close, intimate skin-to-skin contact for transmission.

However, it is possible that contact with materials used by infected persons, such as clothing and linens, can be a way to contract the virus. The virus typically enters the body through broken skin, respiratory droplets, or mucous membranes including the eyes, nose and mouth.

Common symptoms recurring in this most recent outbreak include a rash that starts out as flat spots, followed by raised spots and vesicles that may be itchy or painful.

The rash may only be on one part of the body, and some people may only have the rash and not develop other symptoms such as fever, flu-like illness, headache, muscle aches or fatigue.

The time between exposure to the virus and when the illness begins is about seven to 14 days, but can be as long as 21 days. Some people who have had monkeypox have been men who have sex with men, but any person exposed to someone with monkeypox can be infected via close skin-to-skin contact.

Steps to help prevent monkeypox include:

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with a person who has monkeypox.
  • Do not handle or touch the bedding, clothing, or towels of a person who has monkeypox.
  • Have people diagnosed with monkeypox isolate away from others.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after contact with ill people who have monkeypox.
  • Avoid contact with animals that could have the virus (such as animals that are sick or that have been found dead).

Get in touch with your health care provider if you believe you may have monkeypox or have had close intimate contact with someone with a monkeypox rash.

An effective vaccine against monkeypox exists, but at this time there is no recommendation for vaccination for those with no known exposure to confirmed cases.

Antiviral treatment can be considered in persons who have certain high-risk conditions, such as immunosuppression.

For more information about monkeypox, visit the ADPH monkeypox webpage right here or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention right here.

Categories: Alabama News