Summit County Health Department confirms first monkeypox case |

Summit County Health Department confirms first monkeypox case

Health officials learned on Tuesday a county resident tested positive

The Summit County Courthouse.
Park Record file photo

The first case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Summit County.

The Summit County Health Department received confirmation on Tuesday that a county resident tested positive for the virus, according to a media release.

“Summit County Health Department staff are prepared to respond to additional cases in our county as needed,” Summit County Health Director Dr. Phil Bondurant said in a prepared statement. “While transmission of monkeypox appears to be low in our community at this time, we encourage residents to understand the symptoms and risk factors associated with this virus.” 

The virus is primarily transmitted by direct, skin-to-skin contact with someone who has a monkeypox rash. The current monkeypox strain is not an airborne disease like the coronavirus and does not spread easily, according to health officials.

Most people are not at risk of the virus, but individuals who have close, intimate or sexual contact with multiple partners in a short period are at an increased risk of contracting monkeypox. Men who have sex with men in high-risk situations are at the greatest risk.

The most common monkeypox symptom is painful blisters. A rash can often start as pimples or blisters before going through several stages, including scabbing, before healing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other possible symptoms are fever, chills, muscle aches, sore throat or a cough. Symptoms may start within three weeks of exposure.

According to the CDC, a monkeypox-infected individual with flu-like symptoms will usually develop a rash between one and four days later. Monkeypox can last between two and four weeks. The virus is transmittable from when symptoms appear until the rash has healed, the scabs have fallen off and a fresh layer of skin has formed. 

People who test positive are advised to stay home and limit contact with others. If someone is unable to isolate after they no longer have a fever, they’re asked to cover the rash with clothing, gloves or bandages, wear a mask and avoid crowds.

The monkeypox vaccine is available through the Summit County Health Department to people who have been directly exposed to the virus or who are at a very high risk of contracting it. Only individuals who do not have symptoms associated with monkeypox, COVID-19 or influenza qualify for the vaccine under CDC guidelines.

Last week, the Biden administration declared monkeypox a public health emergency. More than 7,500 monkeypox cases have been confirmed in the United States since May, which is when the first domestic case in the current outbreak was identified.

There have been 54 confirmed or probable cases of monkeypox in Utah since then, according to the Utah Department of Health and Human Services. There have been 40 cases in Salt Lake County, six cases in Utah County, four cases reported by the Weber-Morgan Health Department and three cases in Davis County in addition to Summit County’s first case. Health officials have administered nearly 2,200 vaccines throughout the state.

Call the Summit County Health Department at 435-333-1500 for more information.

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