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Health department confirms first Monkeypox case in Niagara County

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal - 7/25/2022

Jul. 25—The first case of monkeypox in Niagara County has been confirmed by the local health department.

Public health officials announced Monday that they were notified by New York State'sWadsworth Center Laboratory that tests from a county resident came back positive for monkeypox. The resident was interviewed and it was determined that no additional contacts exist, the health department said.

"In the event that contacts were identified, we would coordinate with the New York State Department of Health to provide post-exposure prophylaxis (vaccination) to Niagara County residents," Niagara County Public Health Director Daniel Stapleton said.

The current risk to county residents is low, according to the health department.

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that does not usually cause serious illness but may result in hospitalization or death. People with monkeypox in the current outbreak generally report having close, sustained physical contact with other people who have monkeypox. Less common routes of transmission include respiratory droplets from prolonged face-to-face contact or contact with contaminated materials such as clothing or bedding. While many of those affected in the current outbreaks are men who have sex with men, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox can get the illness.

Monkeypox has an incubation time of one to three weeks after exposure and typically lasts two to four weeks. The illness typically starts with flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches and exhaustion. A rash will develop one to three days after the onset of illness. The rash can look like pimples or blisters that can appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, including the hands, feet, chest, genitals or anus. The rash goes through different stages before healing. It starts as flat, red bumps, which can be painful, before turning into blisters and finally scabbing over.

"Monkeypox is primarily spread by close contact and exposure to an infected person's skin lesions, other bodily fluids, or respiratory droplets," said Adrienne Kasbaum, county director of nursing. "Anyone in close skin to skin contact with someone who has monkeypox can get the illness, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Anyone who develops a new, unexplained rash on any part of the body should seek medical attention immediately and avoid contact with others. Unlike respiratory viruses that spread through exposure to infected respiratory aerosols or droplets, the general public is not at risk of exposure through usual everyday activities."

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