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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Wake County Public Health Identifies County’s First Case of Monkeypox

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Wake County North Carolina
Wake County North Carolina
Wake County is located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of July 1, 2019, the population was 1,111,761, making it North Carolina's most populous county as well as the most populous county in the Carolinas. From July 2005 to July 2006, Wake County was the 9th fastest-growing county in the United States, with the town of Cary and the city of Raleigh being the 8th and 15th fastest-growing cities, respectively. Its county seat is Raleigh, which is also the state capital. Eleven other municipalities are in Wake County, the largest of which is Cary, the third largest city of the Research Triangle region and the seventh largest municipality in North Carolina.

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Wake County Public Health has confirmed the first case of monkeypox in our county. This is the third confirmed case of the virus in North Carolina. The patient is currently isolating at home and Wake County staff are working with them on contact tracing. No additional information about this resident will be disclosed.

As of July 5, there have been 560 confirmed monkeypox cases in the United States per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Wake County Public Health, along with federal, state and local partners are working closely together to investigate and monitor the current national outbreak.

“Monkeypox cases continue to rise across the country, so it is not a surprise that it has now been detected in Wake County,” said Dr. Nicole Mushonga, Wake County Associate Physician Director and Epidemiology Program Director. “Fortunately, unlike COVID-19, there’s already a vaccine approved to help curtail this virus in the early stages of this outbreak. We encourage all residents to know the symptoms and be aware of the risk factors for monkeypox.”

Monkeypox is a rare, but potentially serious, viral illness that typically involves flu-like symptoms. According to the CDC, 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 illness can be confused with a sexually transmitted infection like syphilis or herpes, or with the chickenpox virus. Most infections last two to four weeks.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) reported the first case in the state on June 23.

Some of the ways to prevent and avoid the spread of monkeypox include:

  • Knowing the symptoms and risk factors of the virus.
  • Avoiding skin-to-skin contact with people who are showing a rash or skin sores, and especially if they have a confirmed case of monkeypox.
  • Be aware that in areas with known spread, participating in activities with close, personal, skin-to-skin contact may pose a higher risk of exposure.
  • If you were recently exposed to the virus, contact a doctor or nurse to talk about whether you need a vaccine to prevent disease.
  • Monitor your health for fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes and a new, unexplained rash.
  • If you become ill, avoid contact with others until you receive medical care.

Monkeypox Vaccine
There are two vaccines licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration available for preventing monkeypox infection. According to the CDC, when properly administered before or after a recent exposure, these vaccines are an effective tool to protect people from illness.

Wake County is working with NCDHHS to receive the vaccine in the coming days.

Residents who have been exposed to someone who has had monkeypox or feel they are eligible to receive the vaccine, can call our Communicable Disease phone number at 919-250-4462 for screening and scheduling.


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