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Maricopa County announces first probable monkeypox case

By: - June 7, 2022 11:57 am
Skin lesions from Monkeypox

In this Centers for Disease Control and Prevention handout graphic, symptoms of one of the first known cases of the monkeypox virus are shown on a patient's hand in 2003.

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health and Arizona Department of Health Services announced the first probable case of monkeypox in the state Tuesday in a man in his late 30s.

“It is important to remember that monkeypox remains a rare disease here in the United States and in Maricopa County,” said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for disease control at MCDPH said in a statement sent to the media.

The man is recovering and in isolation and both health agencies are waiting on confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the presumptive positive test from the state’s public health laboratory.

Monkeypox is a viral illness that typically starts with a fever and can be accompanied by a headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. One to three days after experiencing a fever, a rash will appear, starting on the face and spreading to other parts of the body.

The rash will look like small, flat, round discolorations that will become raised and fluid-filed before scabbing, according to MCDPH. When the scabs fall off the area is no longer infectious and the spots can appear anywhere on the skin, including the genitals or inside the mouth.

Most people who come down with monkeypox will fully recover without treatment.

“Monkeypox can spread through contact with lesions, scabs, and bodily fluids, so we encourage anyone who develops fever or swollen lymph nodes with a rash to consult a healthcare provider for testing,” Dr. Sunenshine added.

Public health officials are encouraging people to wash hands after touching anyone, wear a mask in crowded indoor spaces and stay home if sick to help prevent the spread of monkeypox.

“ADHS is working closely with local health departments throughout Arizona to identify and respond quickly to any potential cases,” said Don Herrington, ADHS interim director. “It’s important to note that monkeypox is highly controllable through simple precautions.”

Global cases have surpassed 1,000 which has caused the CDC to raise alert levels and the CDC is encouraging people to practice “enhanced precautions” to stem the recent outbreak. Those precautions include avoiding sick animals and people, especially those with skin lesions.

Monkeypox has been reported in 29 countries with two different strains in the United States and is currently in 14 states, including Arizona.

For more information about monkeypox you can visit CDC.gov/MonkeyPox.


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Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
Jerod MacDonald-Evoy

Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joins the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. Jerod has also won awards for his documentary films which have covered issues such as religious tolerance and surveillance technology used by police. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.