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News / Health / Clark County Health

Clark County’s first monkeypox infection confirmed

By Dylan Jefferies, Columbian staff writer
Published: July 25, 2022, 6:14pm

Clark County’s first confirmed case of monkeypox arrived Monday, according to Clark County Public Health.

Public Health was notified Monday morning that a Clark County resident tested positive for monkeypox — an adult man with no recent travel history. The person is isolating at home and Public Health is investigating, according to a news release.

“While we have identified the first case of monkeypox in Clark County, the risk to the public remains very low,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County Public Health director. “Anyone can get monkeypox. But unlike COVID-19, monkeypox virus does not spread easily between people.”

Monkeypox is spread through close contact with an infected person who has symptoms. The virus can spread through direct contact with rashes, scabs or bodily fluids of an infected person; saliva during direct and prolonged face-to-face contact with an infected person; and contact with bedding, clothing or other objects that have been contaminated by body fluids or sores of an infected person.

Interactions that do not involve physical contact are not high risk, according to Public Health.

Clark County Public Health is working with the person who tested positive to identify individuals who were in close contact with him while he was contagious. Public Health will notify those individuals of their possible exposure and facilitate vaccination for eligible close contacts.

The vaccine may prevent infection or reduce symptoms of infection, but it is only recommended for close contacts who have not developed infection, according to Public Health.

Monkeypox illness often begins with flu-like symptoms including fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and exhaustion. A few days later, a rash develops. The rash then turns into raised bumps that fill with fluid. Typically, the rash is found on the face, arms, legs and hands. However, if a person was infected during sexual contact, the rash might only be on the genitals or anus, according to Public Health.

Symptoms usually begin seven to 14 days after exposure to an infected person but can appear as early as five days and up to 21 days after exposure.

People with monkeypox are contagious as soon as they develop symptoms and continue to be contagious until the rash has fully healed. Most people recover within two to four weeks, but the disease can be serious, especially for people who are immunocompromised, children and pregnant people, according to Public Health.

People who feel sick, have any rashes or sores, or whose partners are sick or have rashes or sores should avoid sex and gatherings, especially if they involve close skin-to-skin contact or prolonged face-to-face contact.

People who are showing symptoms should see a health care provider. Before visiting a medical office, people should notify their provider that they are concerned about monkeypox and whether they recently had close contact with a person who had a similar rash or a person who has been diagnosed with monkeypox.

As of July 22, 83 people have tested positive for monkeypox in Washington, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

To learn more about monkeypox, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website and the Washington State Department of Health’s website.