Monkeypox has found its way to Randolph County, with the Health Department announcing the county's first official case Monday evening.
The individual, according to the Health Department, is currently isolating at home.
Randolph County's initial monkeypox case comes days after President Joe Biden's administration formally categorized the monkeypox outbreak as a public health emergency. The virus has several distinctive symptoms.
"Monkeypox is a rare, but potentially serious viral illness that typically involves flu-like symptoms, swelling of the lymph nodes, and a rash that includes bumps that are initially filled with fluid before scabbing over," reads information provided by the Health Department. "Monkeypox can look like some sexually transmitted infections or chicken pox. Most infections last two to four weeks."
Randolph County Health Director Tara Aker said her department is monitoring the case, adding that residents shouldn't panic while practicing caution.
"At this time, the risk of monkeypox transmission remains low,” Aker said. “Our Health Department’s Communicable Disease team is monitoring the situation closely and is working closely with North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to respond."
While vaccines are available, their distribution is subject to certain statewide criteria. This entails anyone who has had contact, in the past two weeks, with a person diagnosed with monkeypox.
The Health Department specifies that anyone can get monkeypox and the virus doesn't discriminate.
The Center for Disease Control has some suggested actions for minimizing exposure to the virus. These include:
Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox.
Do not kiss, hug, cuddle, or have sex with someone with monkeypox.
Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used.
Do not share eating utensils or cups that a person with monkeypox has used.
Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.
"If you have an unexplained rash, sores, or other symptoms, contact your healthcare provider," the Health Department adds. "Keep the rash covered and avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until a medical provider has evaluated you."
For more information on monkeypox visit the CDC'S monkeypox portal at https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html or the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services at https://epi.dph.ncdhhs.gov/cd/diseases/monkeypox.html.
This article originally appeared on The Courier-Tribune: Randolph County monitors its first case of monkeypox.