85.3 F
75.6 F
78.9 F
73.1 F

Public health officials confirm Alabama’s first monkeypox case

The first identified case of monkeypox virus infection has been confirmed in Alabama, according to county and state public health officials.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) confirmed the initial case Friday.

A press release advised that both public health entities remain on alert for additional cases.

The patient’s specimen was tested by the ADPH Bureau of Clinical Laboratories (BCL), a facet of the Laboratory Response Network (LRN) that responds to public health emergencies.

Approximately 1,470 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in 44 states, with more expected to be identified.

In announcing Alabama’s first infection, the ADPH detailed how the virus may spread during person-to-person contact.

“Monkeypox does not spread easily from person to person,” the department’s release stated. “But close, intimate, skin-to-skin contact appears to be the primary mode of transmission in the current global outbreak. 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 (eyes, nose, or mouth).”

“Symptoms in this most current outbreak have not been as typical as in previous cases of monkeypox,” the ADPH added. “Instead, persons will have a rash that starts out as flat spots, followed by raised spots, then vesicles that are deep-seated, have a tiny spot in the middle of the vesicle, and may be itchy or painful.”

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

Regarding exposure-to-illness time, the ADPH noted that symptoms could begin anywhere between seven to 21 days.

“The time between exposure to the virus and when the illness begins is about 7-14 days but can be as long as 21 days,” the department said. “Some people who have had monkeypox have been men who have sex with men, but any person exposed to a person with monkeypox and close skin-to-skin contact can be infected.”

The ADPH offered the following guidance to prevent the spread of monkeypox:

  • 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 persons 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).
  • Do not hesitate to get in touch with your healthcare provider if you believe you may have monkeypox or have had close intimate contact with someone with a monkeypox rash.

According to the department, testing for monkeypox can be done at the ADPH BCL and some commercial laboratories.

The ADPH noted that an effective vaccine against monkeypox exists, but there is no recommendation for vaccination for those with no known exposure to confirmed cases. Antiviral treatment can be considered for individuals who have certain high-risk conditions, such as immunosuppression.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

Don’t miss out!  Subscribe today to have Alabama’s leading headlines delivered to your inbox.