4 cases of monkeypox reported in Shelby County

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 10:42 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County Health Department reports four presumptive cases of monkeypox in the county as of Tuesday, August 2.

The four people are now isolating at home and the health department is working to reach any close contacts who may have been exposed to those who contracted the disease.

SCHD says they have a limited supply of the vaccine to provide to anyone who has been identified as a close contact, which includes:

1. Known contacts who were identified by public health via case investigation, contract tracing, and risk exposure assessments.

2. Presumed contacts who meet the following criteria:

  • Are aware that a sexual partner was diagnosed with monkeypox in the past 14 days
  • Have had multiple sexual partners in the past 14 days in a jurisdiction with known monkeypox outbreak.

“If you have a rash and you’re worried that it’s monkeypox or if you’ve come into contact with someone who has been diagnosed with monkeypox over the last 14 days, the best thing you can do is go to your health provider and get tested,” said Director of Shelby County Health Department Dr. Michelle Taylor.

Most people recover within 2-4 weeks, but the disease can be serious in some instances. Symptoms can take up to 3 weeks to develop.

Monkeypox is known to spread through:

  • direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
  • respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex
  • touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids
  • pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta

Infectious disease expert Dr. Steve Threlkeld said the vaccine is “hard to get locally” but there are enough to give to persons who have been diagnosed with a positive case in Shelby County at this time.

Threlkeld added, “if you get the shot within four days of known exposure to monkeypox you can take the vaccine and it will ward off any infection.”

President Joe Biden announced top officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will serve as the White House coordinators to combat the growing outbreak.

The U.S. saw its first case of the monkeypox virus confirmed on May 18 and now has over 5,800 confirmed infections.

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