HELENA – State health officials report that the monkeypox virus has reached Montana.
The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) and the Flathead City County Health Department today confirmed a single presumptive case of monkeypox virus infection in an adult from Flathead County.
Initial testing was completed Friday at the Montana State Public Health Laboratory and confirmatory testing will follow with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to DPHHS.
DPHHS officials state in a news release that the department “is working closely with the patient’s local public health and health care provider to identify individuals who may have been in contact with the patient while they were infectious.” .
The patient did not require hospitalization and is now isolated at home. To protect patient confidentiality, no further details related to the patient will be disclosed.
As of August 4, 2022, the CDC reported 7,102 cases of monkeypox/orthopoxvirus in 48 other US states. In recent months, more than 26,519 cases have been reported in 81 countries where the disease is not normally reported.
Symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, headache, muscle and back aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, and a rash that may look like pimples or blisters that appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body.
The illness usually lasts two to four weeks, and most people get better on their own without treatment. Sometimes monkeypox can cause scarring from the sores, the development of secondary infections such as pneumonia, or other complications.
The virus does not spread easily between people with casual contact, but transmission can occur through contact with infectious sores and bodily fluids; contaminated items, such as clothing or bedding; or through respiratory droplets associated with prolonged face-to-face contact.
“Early recognition of the characteristic monkeypox rash by patients and clinicians is necessary to minimize transmission of this virus,” said Dr. Maggie Cook-Shimanek, DPHHS Acting State Medical Officer. “Anyone with symptoms of monkeypox should isolate themselves from others and see a health care provider immediately.”
Because transmission of monkeypox requires close and prolonged contact, close-knit social networks have been particularly affected.
There is no specific treatment for monkeypox. But because monkeypox and smallpox viruses are closely related, antiviral drugs (such as tecovirimat) and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox can be used to prevent and treat cowpox virus infections. ape. The need for treatment will depend on how sick the person is or is likely to become seriously ill.
DPHHS is pre-positioning a supply of tecovirimat in the state for use, if needed, according to the news release. The CDC does not recommend widespread vaccination against monkeypox at this time. However, vaccination may be recommended for some people who have been exposed to the monkeypox virus.
According to the CDC, the monkeypox virus is spread primarily through close, intimate contact with someone who has monkeypox.
Montanans can take steps to avoid contracting monkeypox. Anyone with a rash that looks like monkeypox should talk to their health care provider, even if they don’t think they’ve had contact with someone who has monkeypox.
A person sick with monkeypox should be isolated at home. If they have an active rash or other symptoms, they should be in a separate room or area from other family members and pets, when possible.
For more information about this virus, visit the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/. DPHHS has also launched a new monkeypox website at monkeypox (mt.gov).