A human monkeypox virus infection has been reported in a Dorchester County resident. This is the first case reported in the county and the 87th case in Maryland thus far.
“Although human monkeypox is rare in the U.S. and the risk of transmission to the general public is low, we urge residents to learn about the signs and symptoms, exercise caution, and continue to practice good hygiene, including frequent washing of hands with soap and water,” Roger L. Harrell, Dorchester County’s health officer, said.
Anyone who has the characteristic rash or other symptoms or who thinks they may have been exposed to monkeypox should call their health care provider immediately.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as smallpox. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder; and monkeypox is rarely fatal.
The monkeypox virus can spread from person-to-person through:
• direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
• respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex
• touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids
Symptoms of monkeypox can include:
• fever, headache, muscle aches and backache,
• swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, and,
• 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.
The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.