Local health departments: No monkeypox reported

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Aug. 4—Local county health departments have reported no cases of monkeypox in the area.

The Chenango County Health Department issued a media release last week about the disease, shortly after the World Health Organization declared the international outbreak a "global emergency." Governor Kathy Hochul declared the monkeypox outbreak a state disaster emergency on July 29. The U.S. government declared it a public health emergency on Thursday, Aug. 4.

In the release, the department said it "is prepared to handle the situation should a case of monkeypox occur locally, including access to the vaccine."

Chenango County has not reported a case of monkeypox yet. Delaware County Public Health Director Amanda Walsh said no cases have been reported in Delaware County. Otsego County Public Health Director Heidi Bond said no cases have been reported in Otsego County. Schoharie County Department of Health announced on its Facebook page it has not had a positive case. However, the surrounding counties of Albany, Broome, Greene and Sullivan have reported at least one confirmed case of monkeypox according to the state's Department of Health's website. According to the state's website, there are 1,666 confirmed cases in the state, with the majority — 1,558 — in New York City.

According to the Centers for Disease Control website, the signs and symptoms of monkeypox vary, but include the following: fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough), a rash that may be located on or near the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butthole) but could also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth. The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing. The rash can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.

People may experience all or only a few symptoms, the website said. Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash. Most people with monkeypox will get a rash. Some people have developed a rash before (or without) other symptoms.

Monkeypox symptoms usually start within three weeks of exposure to the virus, the website said. If someone has flu-like symptoms, they will usually develop a rash one to four days later. Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts two to four weeks.

"Anyone who has had close physical contact with someone who has symptoms of monkeypox or has traveled to a country with confirmed cases of monkeypox or where monkeypox is endemic, is at risk for infection," Chenango County's release said.

For more information about the disease, visit https://tinyurl.com/42rwk8vj.

Vicky Klukkert, staff writer, can be reached at vklukkert@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221.