Kanawha County health official addresses monkeypox concerns – WSAZ

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Ahead of summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a travel warning in response to a growing number of monkeypox cases.
While the alert may spark some worries, Kanawha-Charleston Health Department Health Officer Dr. Steven Esheneaur said there is little need for West Virginians to worry due to the difficulties in transmitting the virus.
“Most all the cases that have occurred here in the United States had been from travelers who came to the United States from an African country where it was endemic,” he explained. “Or, they received an infection from an animal that had either scratched them or had a bite or close contact with them on it.”
Esheneaur believes monkeypox will not become endemic and has been in the United States in the past.
“Typically, the recipient needs to have a break in the skin or other way for the virus to get into the skin,” he said.
“One outbreak that happened a number of years ago was associated with animals that were brought to the U.S. got into a prairie dog population in six states that were mainly pets, and then it was spread to about 40 to 50 humans,” he said. “Fortunately, that case was shut down very quickly because of Isolation Isolation alone, as really helped stop that outbreak.”
He said there are distinct symptoms associated with the virus.
“Many viruses start out with a program of symptoms such as fever, body aches, joint aches, chills, fatigue, that then progress into the classic lesions that you see with chickenpox,” he explained. “It’ll cause small raised bumps initially, that then progress into vesicles. They look like little blisters that then progress into pustules. They look like they’re pus-filled, and then they scab — very, very, very similar to the progression that you see with chickenpox.”
Esheneaur said monkeypox shares similar traits to smallpox, and the vaccine for smallpox can help fight the virus.
He said there are other measures to take for prevention.
“Good common handwashing and hand cleaning will kill the virus and help prevent infection,” he said. “Because of its difficulty, it needs to have a break in the skin or mucous membranes to enter the body, so if you do have contact with anyone who is suspicious of infection, do good handwashing hand hygiene.”
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