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Health

First monkeypox case reported in North Carolina

Symptoms of the monkeypox virus are shown on a patient's hand, from a 2003 case in the U.S. In most instances, the disease causes fever and painful, pus-filled blisters. New cases in the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal are spreading possibly through sexual contact, which had not previously been linked to monkeypox transmission.
Courtesy of CDC
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Symptoms of the monkeypox virus are shown on a patient's hand, from a 2003 case in the U.S. In most instances, the disease causes fever and painful, pus-filled blisters. New cases in the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal are spreading possibly through sexual contact, which had not previously been linked to monkeypox transmission.

A North Carolina resident has become the first case of monkey pox reported in the state, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday.

The agency is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, relevant local health departments, and the patient’s health care providers to identify and notify individuals who may have been in contact with the patient while they were infectious, according to a NCDHHS news release.

The person is currently isolating at home. The agency said it would not provide further information to protect the patient’s privacy.

Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious, viral illness that typically involves flu-like symptoms, swelling of the lymph nodes and a rash that includes bumps that are initially filled with fluid before scabbing over. Most infections last two to four weeks.

The illness can be confused with a sexually transmitted infection like syphilis or herpes, or with chickenpox.

Since May, there have been 156 cases identified in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been 3,308 cases. There have been no deaths related to this outbreak.

"The number of monkeypox cases has been growing in the U.S. and globally," said State Epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore. "Though this is the first confirmed case in North Carolina, we know there are likely other cases in the state. We are encouraging doctors to consider this in people who have a rash or skin lesion that looks like monkeypox."

Monkeypox is transmitted person-to-person through direct skin-to-skin contact, having contact with an infectious rash, through body fluids or through respiratory secretions.

Such contact often occurs during prolonged, face-to-face contact or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex.

While anyone can get the illness, in the current outbreak, many of the cases are in men who have sex with men, according to the news release.

There are basic steps to prevent the spread of monkeypox:

  • If a person has an unexplained rash, sores or other symptoms, they should see their health-care provider. If they don’t have a provider or health insurance, they should visit a public health clinic near them.
  • Keep the rash covered and avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until they have been checked out.
  • Standard household cleaners and detergents are effective at cleaning environmental surfaces and linens.
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