Caldwell County Public Health announced a monkeypox case has been identified in a Caldwell County resident. The viral illness causes flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes and a rash with bumps.
“Our team is working to identify anyone who may have been in contact with the individual who tested positive for the virus,” said Caldwell County Public Health Director Anna Martin. “The patient is in isolation.”
This case is part of an increasing number of cases across the globe and one of the 322 cases identified in North Carolina.
“Our communicable disease team has been preparing to address monkeypox in our community for several months,” said Martin. “They have a plan in place for testing and are working to obtain vaccines to be administered here in Caldwell County.”
While Caldwell County has not received its shipment of vaccine, it is available in Buncombe, Forsyth, Mecklenburg, and other more populated counties. Additionally, vaccine has been prioritized for people who are currently most at risk of exposure to monkeypox, specifically:
- Anyone who had close contact in the past two weeks with someone who has been diagnosed with monkeypox
- Gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, or transgender individuals, who are sexually active
- People who have had sexual contact with gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, or transgender individuals in the past 90 days
- People living with HIV, or taking medication to prevent HIV (PrEP), or who were diagnosed with syphilis in the past 90 days
“When we receive a shipment of vaccine, we will make every effort to let our community know,” said Martin. “Until then, we encourage individuals who are most at risk for monkeypox to be vaccinated in a nearby community.”
People most commonly get monkeypox through close and sustained skin-to-skin contact, including but not limited to intimate and sexual contact. The virus can also spread through contact with body fluids such as saliva or fluid from the lesions of infected individuals. Most people with monkeypox get better on their own, and monkeypox is also rarely fatal. Anyone with unexplained rashes or lesions should contact the Caldwell County Health Department at 828-426-8400 or their health care provider to be tested.