LINCOLN, Neb. (KCAU) — It was announced Monday that the outbreak of monkeypox has reached the state of Nebraska.
According to a release from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Douglas County Health Department (DCHD), a resident in Nebraska has tested positive for the orthopox virus. Follow-up CDC testing confirmed it to be monkeypox, and the DHHS is working with DCHD and CDC to find potential exposures and notify anyone who might have been exposed to it.
The release stated the patient is a man in his 30s who had recently traveled outside of the country, and additional details are not being provided by the DHHS to protect his privacy.
“As monkeypox infections are increasingly identified throughout the U.S. and the world, it’s critical we continue searching for it here in Nebraska,” said Nebraska State Epidemiologist Dr. Matthew Donahue, “Monkeypox is spread through close contact with someone who has a characteristic rash. Nebraskans should be aware of the rash’s appearance, and we need individuals with that characteristic rash to talk to their healthcare providers so we can help arrange testing.”
The release specified that monkeypox can be transmitted through prolonged physical contact, including but not limited to, sexual intimacy. It was also stated that the outbreak is disproportionately affecting gay and bisexual men who are sexually active, but it is a risk to everyone who is exposed to the virus.
The DHHS is strongly recommending anyone who is experiencing symptoms of an unexplained rash on their face, palms, arms, legs, genitals, or perianal region along with flu-like symptoms should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
Symptoms of monkeypox include:
- A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appear on the genitals, anus, face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, or chest.
- The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. This process can take several weeks
- Pictures of the characteristic rash: https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/symptoms.html
- Muscle aches or backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.
Several measures can be taken to prevent infection:
- Avoid close contact with the skin of someone with the characteristic rash
- Avoid contact with animals that could harbor the virus (including animals that are sick or that have been found dead in areas where monkeypox occurs).
- Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding, that has been in contact with a sick animal.
- Isolate infected patients from others who could be at risk for infection.
- Practice good hand hygiene after contact with infected animals or humans. For example, washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for a patient