Pittsboro, NC – The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) has reported Chatham County’s first confirmed case of monkeypox. To protect privacy and in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Chatham County Public Health Department can share no further details about any individuals who test positive for the virus.
According to the NC DHHS monkeypox dashboard, as of September 29th, 2022, a total of 566 cases of monkeypox have been reported across North Carolina.
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Anyone can get monkeypox. Primary symptoms include:
- Muscle aches and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Respiratory symptoms (e.g., sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
- A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.
Some monkeypox cases start with a rash and then progress to include other symptoms. Others only experience the rash. The virus can spread from person-to-person through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids. It also can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex. Monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted infection.
Testing for monkeypox is available. If you have had close, skin-to-skin contact with someone with monkeypox, or have bumps, sores, or a rash that looks like blisters or pimples, talk to your doctor or call the Chatham County Public Health Department clinic at 919-742-5641.
“Anyone can get monkeypox, though the risk remains low for most at this time,” said Chatham County Public Health Director Mike Zelek. “Unlike COVID-19, monkeypox spreads mainly through close, skin-to-skin contact. We encourage all who meet the eligibility criteria for the monkeypox vaccine to make an appointment to get vaccinated.”
Vaccines are available in limited supply, at no cost, for individuals with known or suspected exposure to monkeypox as well as those who meet the following criteria:
- Anyone who had close contact in the past two weeks with someone who has been diagnosed with monkeypox
- Gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, or transgender individuals, who are sexually active
- People who have had sexual contact with gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, or transgender individuals in the past 90 days
- People living with HIV, or taking medication to prevent HIV (PrEP), or who were diagnosed with syphilis in the past 90 days.
If you meet any of the criteria above, call the Chatham County Public Health Department clinic at 919-742-5641 to learn more about a vaccine and to schedule an appointment. For additional options and more information, visit here.