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Spokane Regional Health District reports first presumptive monkeypox case

According to a press release, health officials are investigating that patient's case history, and the risk to the general public is considered low.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) has reported a presumptive case of monkeypox virus infection in an adult in Spokane County.

According to a press release, health officials are currently investigating the patient's case history, and the risk to the general public is considered low.

SRHD says initial testing was completed at a commercial laboratory on July 29, 2022. Confirmatory testing will be done at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to SRHD, the patient is receiving outpatient care. The health district is conducting contact tracing to identify anyone who may be at risk due to direct, close contact with the infected patient. Those who were in close contact are asked to watch for symptoms of illness.

The need for a vaccine or antivirals is being evaluated on a case-by-case basis in consultation with CDC officials, SRHD says. While the CDC does not recommend broader use of the vaccine at this time, their evaluation of vaccine guidance is ongoing.

According to SRHD, the virus does not easily spread between people with casual contact. Transmission can occur through contact with infectious sores and bodily fluids, contaminated items, clothing or bedding, or through respiratory droplets associated with face-to-face contact.

"While the threat of monkeypox generally remains low, it's important that everyone be aware of this disease so that those at risk can seek medical care and get tested promptly if they believe they have symptoms," said Health Officer Dr. Francisco Velázquez. 

Symptoms of monkeypox include the following, according to SRHD:

  • Fever 
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Rash that can look like pimples or blisters

The illness typically lasts two to four weeks, SRHD says. Most people recover on their own or without treatment. However, officials say monkeypox can cause scars from the sores, lead to pneumonia and, in rare cases, be fatal.

SRHD says people with monkeypox can spread the virus from when symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed.

According to SRHD, people can prevent the spread of monkeypox in the following ways:

  • Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer 
  • Minimize skin-to-skin contact with individuals who have been exposed to the virus or those showing a rash or skin sores 
  • Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding or clothing, that have been in direct contact with someone with monkeypox 
  • Reach out to a health care provider if you develop symptoms, as early recognition and testing can help prevent further transmission 

For more information on the disease, go to the monkeypox page on SRHD's website.

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