Health officials on Thursday morning reported the first case of monkeypox in a Nashville resident.
The person recently traveled to a country with reported monkeypox cases, according to a news release from the Nashville Metro Health Department. Testing confirmed an orthopoxvirus infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will also conduct a test.
MPHD is working with the person and their health care providers to identify anyone who was in contact with them while they were infectious, the release stated. The person was not hospitalized and is isolating and recovering at home.
The Tennessee Department of Health is also working with MPHD.
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What is monkeypox and how does it spread?
Monkeypox is a rare disease in the same family of viruses as smallpox, according to the CDC. Symptoms are similar to smallpox, but milder. The disease is rarely fatal.
The CDC says the 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
- touching items like clothing or linens that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids
Infection may begin with fever, headache, muscle aches and exhaustion before a rash appears. However, many cases in this year’s outbreak have reported very mild or no symptoms other than a rash, the release said.
“People should be alert for the appearance of new rashes characterized by sores, bumps or fluid filled bumps and seek medical evaluation if they have questions,” the release stat.
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Monkeypox can spread from the first symptoms to the rash has fully healed and a new layer of skin has formed, according to the CDC. Most people recover in 2-4 days. However, monkeypox can be serious in rare instances, especially for immunocompromised people, children and those who are pregnant.
“People who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others,” MPHD said in the release.
Symptoms can take up to 21 days to appear after exposure, so contacts of those with monkeypoxare monitored for several weeks. More information on monkeypox can be found at cdc.gov/monkeypox or via the Tennessee Department of Health at tn.gov/health/cedep/reportable-diseases/monkeypox.
Feds announce monkeypox vaccine rollout
More than 1.6 million vaccines to combat monkeypox will be released in the United States throughout the rest of the year, federal health officials announced last month. Anyone possibly exposed to the virus is encouraged to get vaccinated.
On June 28, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced it would release 56,000 doses of the Jynneos vaccine immediately in areas where monkeypox transmission rates are high, followed by an additional 240,000 doses in coming weeks. The vaccines will be distributed through a tier system, prioritizing areas with a high number of confirmed cases.
The move came as the US recorded more than 300 cases of monkeypox across more than two dozen states.
Jordan Mendoza contributed to this story.
Find reporter Rachel Wegner at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @rachelannwegner.