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What to Know About the Monkeypox Virus

Monkeypox- what is it and should I be concerned?

You may have heard about the recent confirmed cases of monkeypox in the US and Europe. Cases of monkeypox in the United States are extremely rare, as most cases occur in countries in Africa. Currently, there have not been any confirmed cases in North Carolina and there is no immediate cause for concern, however, we encourage everyone to remain cautious.

Symptoms of monkeypox include:

  • Blister-like rash

  • Fever

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Tiredness

  • Headache

  • Muscle aches

People who are most at risk of contracting the monkeypox virus include:

  • Those who have traveled to countries with recently confirmed cases of monkeypox

  • Those who have had contact with a person or people who have a similar rash or who have received a diagnosis of confirmed or suspected monkeypox, or

  • Men who regularly have close or intimate in-person contact with other men

A person is considered infectious from the onset of symptoms and is presumed to remain infectious until lesions have crusted, those crusts have separated, and a fresh layer of healthy skin has formed underneath.

Human-to-human transmission occurs primarily through large respiratory droplets and by direct contact with body fluids or lesion material. Respiratory droplets generally cannot travel more than a few feet, so prolonged face-to-face contact is required. Indirect contact with lesion material through fomites (contaminated surfaces or objects) has also been documented.

Animal-to-human transmission may occur through a bite or scratch, preparation of wild game, and direct or indirect contact with body fluids or lesion material.

The illness concurrent with the monkeypox virus typically lasts 2-4 weeks.

Please call Burke County Health Department at 828-764-9150 if you have any questions or concerns regarding monkeypox.

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