‘Probable’ cases of monkeypox identified in Utah

'Probable' cases of monkeypox identified in Utah
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Monkeypox is supposed to be in Utah.

Two adults from the same Salt Lake County household “are considered probable cases of monkeypox,” the Salt Lake County Health Department said Monday, based on preliminary testing. Confirmation that the rare disease has arrived in the state is expected Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“There is no risk to the general public from these probable cases of monkeypox,” county health department executive director Dr. Angela Dunn told reporters, adding that the disease is “very rare” and “does not spread easily from human to human”. Human. We are not talking about covid here.”

She said that was “no reason to panic”, especially since only around 100 cases have been seen worldwide.

Utah is the only state to date with more than one case of monkeypox. In Massachusetts, monkeypox has been confirmed in a man who traveled to Canada, while a man in New York and another in Florida who also traveled abroad are awaiting confirmation that they have the disease .

All of the cases involve men, according to Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the CDC’s Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Conditions, who declined to share details of their trip during a virtual press conference later Monday.

The two infected people from Utah agreed to stay in isolation at home until their rash clears, Dunn said, and anyone who had close contact with them should have been contacted by the county or the Utah health department by the end of the day.

None were asked to quarantine because none had high-risk exposure to the disease, she said. Instead, they were told to self-monitor for symptoms for the next 21 days, Dunn said, because people with the disease aren’t contagious until symptoms appear.

She said those infected started showing symptoms after traveling to Europe earlier this month to an area with rampant cases of monkeypox, adding that their illness was mild and they are expected to make a full recovery. The couple saw their healthcare provider on Friday, who “immediately told them to self-isolate and called public health,” Dunn said.

Within 24 hours, she said their illness had been identified as an infection with the orthopox virus through testing by the state lab, which is part of a family of illnesses that also includes smallpox, although further testing is needed by the CDC to confirm it is monkeypox.

The county health department released no additional information about the suspected cases, citing medical confidentiality laws.

This 1997 image provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during an investigation into an outbreak of monkeypox, which took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, shows the dorsal surfaces of the hands of a patient with monkeypox, who presented characteristic rash appearance during its recovery phase. As more cases of monkeypox are detected in Europe and North America in 2022, some scientists who have monitored numerous outbreaks in Africa say they are baffled by the unusual spread of the disease in developed countries.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention via AP

Belgium is the first nation to impose a quarantine for people with the disease, which is usually only found in Africa, but President Joe Biden said on Monday he doesn’t think it will be needed in the United States.

“I just don’t think it reaches the level of concern that existed with COVID-19, and the smallpox vaccine works for that,” Biden said at a press conference in Japan on Monday, The Washington Post reported. On Sunday, the president told reporters that monkeypox is “a concern in that if it were to spread, it would be consecutive.”

Monkeypox, which is spread primarily through direct contact with bodily fluids, including the pustules that accompany the disease, has been identified in at least a dozen countries by the World Health Organization. Besides Africa and the United States, several European countries have seen the disease as well as Australia and Canada.

The county health department said symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion and swollen lymph nodes, as well as a rash that often starts on the face before spreading to other parts of the body and turning into fluid-filled bumps that eventually form a crust. and fall.

The illness typically lasts two to four weeks, and Dunn said people usually recover without treatment.

She advised anyone who has recently traveled to places where monkeypox is spreading, or who has come into contact with someone who has a rash “to be on the lookout for symptoms and contact their provider. if they have any”.

Besides person-to-person contact involving bodily fluids, such as prolonged touching, kissing or sex, or being close to someone for several hours, Dunn said the disease can also be spread through contact with clothing. , sheets or other materials contaminated with pustules. .

She said the disease is “particularly spreading” in the gay community, particularly among men, and the county will “work with our partners, particularly ahead of Pride Week, to ensure everyone involved in these activities understand the risks and how to protect themselves. .”

A CDC post On disease states, the federal agency is “tracking several clusters of monkeypox that were reported in early to mid-May in several countries that do not normally report monkeypox, including Europe and North America.”

The cases “include people who identify as men who have sex with men. CDC urges US healthcare providers to be mindful of patients with rashes compatible with monkey poxwhether they are traveling or have specific risk factors for monkeypox and regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

The disease can be severe, killing around 10% of those infected in Africa, but Dunn said she expects the death rate to be “much, much lower” in the United States due to a better access to health care. A person with a weakened immune system could experience a more severe case of monkeypox, she said.

Utahns traveling abroad should review the Current CDC Recommendations for their destinations and take precautions, including “frequent and thorough hand washing; avoid contact with animals; and avoid close contact with people showing symptoms of illness,” the county health department said.

Appointments can also be scheduled with the Salt Lake County Health Department Travel Clinic for more information by calling 385-468-4111, and more information about monkeypox is available at the CDC website at

The Utah Department of Health has not commented on the presence of the disease in the state.

“We respect the role the Salt Lake County Health Department plays as the lead agency in this response and will refer comments to their agency at this time. We are working closely with their team on the response,” said state health department spokeswoman Jenny Johnson.

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