First case of monkeypox identified in New Hanover County
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC – New Hanover County Public Health has confirmed the county’s first case of monkeypox. The patient is currently in isolation and people who may have been in close contact with the patient while infectious are being notified. To protect patient privacy, no further information on this case will be shared.
“New Hanover County Public Health and our Pandemic Response Team have been working with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control over the past few months to track the spread of monkeypox, make vaccines available to all beneficiaries and be prepared to respond when our first case is confirmed,” said Health Director David Howard. “Our team is working with local healthcare providers to ensure we quickly identify each case, work on contact tracing, offer the vaccine to every close contact and ensure all affected individuals are isolated.”
Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness that typically initially presents with flu-like symptoms, swelling of the lymph nodes, and a rash that typically appears later and includes bumps that are initially fluid-filled before crusting. It usually lasts two to four weeks and is transmitted through close physical contact, e.g. B. Skin-to-skin contact or prolonged personal contact with someone who has monkeypox. It is not a sexually transmitted infection but can be spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact. It can also be spread through contact with objects used by someone with monkeypox.
“Monkeypox infections remain rare, but they’re on the rise across the country and anyone can get monkeypox, so it’s important to be vigilant and aware of the symptoms,” Howard said. “If you have any unexplained or worrisome symptoms, such as a rash, lesions or sores, please see your doctor or call the New Hanover County Communicable Disease Team at 910-367-2484 to get tested. Rashes should be covered and you should avoid being intimate with anyone until they have been checked out. An additional recommended precaution is to avoid intimate contact with people you do not know.”
The New Hanover County Pandemic Operations and Communicable Disease teams have worked hand-in-hand to prioritize plans and preparedness for monkeypox, and that work continues. Since early July, vaccines have been made available to eligible individuals on the ground, testing has been coordinated where necessary, and control measures have been outlined and planned to ensure potential spread is limited.
For more information on monkeypox, visit Health.NHCgov.com/your-health/monkeypox.
Monkey Pox Vaccine
The Jynneos vaccine can protect a high-risk person from monkeypox or reduce the severity of the disease if given within two weeks of exposure. The Pandemic Operations Center is offering the vaccine free of charge to people who say they meet one of the following criteria:
- People who have been in close physical contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox in the past 14 days
- Certain healthcare workers and members of the public health response team designated by health authorities
- Men who have sex with other men or transgender people who have reported any of the following in the past 90 days:
- Having multiple or anonymous sex partners
- Diagnosis of a sexually transmitted disease
- Receiving HIV PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis)
Jynneos vaccines are available Monday through Friday at the Pandemic Operations Center (1507 Greenfield Street, Wilmington) and scheduling an appointment is recommended. To schedule an appointment, call 910-798-6800.
Reduce the risk
In addition to getting the vaccine if you are eligible, health officials encourage the community to practice the following three steps to avoid monkeypox:
- Avoid close skin contact with anyone who has a new or unexplained rash or lesion.
- Do not touch the rash or scabs on a person with monkeypox.
- Don’t 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 cutlery 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 frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after using the toilet.
The CDC also encourages individuals to temporarily change some behaviors that may increase their risk of exposure, including safer sex practices. For more information, visit the CDC website here.
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