Public Health investigating first confirmed case of monkeypox virus infection

Published Date

Clark County Public Health is investigating a confirmed case of monkeypox virus infection in a Clark County resident.

Public Health was notified Monday morning that a Clark County resident – an adult male with no recent travel history – tested positive for monkeypox. The case is isolating at home.

Clark County Public Health is working with the person who tested positive to identify individuals who were in close contact with the case while he was contagious. Public Health will notify those individuals of their possible exposure and facilitate vaccination for eligible close contacts. The vaccine may prevent infection or reduce symptoms of infection and is currently only recommended for close contacts who have not developed infection.

“While we have identified the first case of monkeypox in Clark County, the risk to the public remains very low,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and Public Health director. “Anyone can get monkeypox. But unlike COVID-19, monkeypox virus does not spread easily between people.”

Monkeypox is spread through close contact with an infected person who has symptoms. Brief interactions that do not involve physical contact are not high risk. The virus can spread through:

  • direct contact with rash, scabs or body fluids of an infected person
  • respiratory droplets (saliva) during direct and prolonged face-to-face contact with an infected person
  • contact with bedding, clothing or other objects that have been contaminated by body fluids or sores of an infected person

Monkeypox illness often begins with flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and exhaustion. A few days later, the person develops a rash. The rash then turns into raised bumps, which fill with fluid. Typically, the rash is mostly on the face, arms, legs and hands. However, if a person was infected during sexual contact, the rash might only be on the genitals or anus.

Symptoms usually begin seven to 14 days after exposure to an infected person but can appear as early as five days and up to 21 days after exposure. People with monkeypox are contagious as soon as they develop symptoms and continue to be contagious until the rash has fully healed. Most people recover within two to four weeks, but the disease can be serious, especially for people who are immunocompromised, children and pregnant people.

People who feel sick or have any rashes or sores – or whose partners are sick or have rashes or sores – should avoid sex and gatherings, especially if they involve close skin-to-skin contact or prolonged face-to-face contact, and see a health care provider. This is always a good plan, even if a rash or illness is not related to monkeypox. Before visiting the medical office, people should notify their provider that they are concerned about monkeypox and whether they recently had close contact with a person who had a similar rash or a person who has been diagnosed with monkeypox.

Additional information