ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – The first case of monkeypox was recorded in Alaska on Friday, according to the state Department of Health.
The infected person was an Anchorage resident, the health department said, who did not require hospitalization and is isolating at home. The department said the person hadn’t traveled but was a close contact with someone else who had recently been outside the state.
The health department said monkeypox is a virus that doesn’t spread as easily between people, and transmission is possible either through skin-to-skin contact with body fluids or monkeypox sores, through direct contact with contaminated items like bedding or clothing, and through exposure to drop respiratorylets during prolonged face-to-face contact.
The department also said that while monkeypox can be spread to anyone, the current outbreak that has hit the United States has been mostly limited to “gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men.”
As of Thursday, the virus has been reported in 46 other states, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. The outbreak was declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization on Saturday.
Those who have the virus typically exhibit symptoms that include fever, headache, chills, muscle aches and exhaustion within one to two weeks of exposure. Soon after, a rash appears, although some infected individuals only develop the rash. Sickness tends to last for two to four weeks.
“The best thing folks can do if they’re experiencing monkeypox symptoms or come across a new, unexplained rash is to stay home and contact their health provider right away,” Dr. Brian Piltz, medical officer at the department, said in the release . “This will allow us to deliver prompt treatment and rapid identification of close contacts who may be eligible for vaccination.”
The health department said anyone who believes they may have been exposed to monkeypox should reach out to their clinician or public health center, as testing for the virus is available in the state, with a limited supply of the JYNNEOS vaccine available. Vaccines for monkeypox are prioritized for those who have been in close contact with infected individuals and are not recommended for the general public.
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