FRANKFORT, Ky. (WEHT) – A Jefferson County resident may be experiencing the first case of Monkeypox in the state of Kentucky.
Health officials say that no further information will be release about the patient due to privacy concerns. They assure the public that the patient is currently isolated and helping officials with contract tracing as testing is underway.
State Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said, “Identifying the first case of monkeypox in Kentucky is concerning but not surprising. Fortunately, the risk to the general public remains low. We continue to work closely with CDC and our local health department and healthcare partners to contain the spread of this virus.”
Reports say the samples were initially tested at the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) Division of Laboratory Service. They are now waiting for confirmation of results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC reports that 173 monkeypox cases have been found in the United States as of June 23. You can find more information here.
KDPH warns healthcare workers to be alert for the following possible symptoms of monkeypox:
- Monkeypox infection should be considered for patients presenting with skin lesions, especially for those with a history of recent travel to an area with confirmed monkeypox cases or who have close skin-to-skin contact (such as sexual contact) with new or affected partners.
- Take note that some patients have had genital lesions and the rash may be hard to distinguish from syphilis, herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection, chancroid, varicella zoster, and other more common infections.
- Isolate any patients suspected of having monkeypox in a single-person room, and ensure staff understand the importance of wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (gown, gloves, eye protection, and respirator) and that they wear it each time they are near suspected cases.
- Use standard cleaning/disinfectants in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and dispose of any materials that touched the patient as medical waste.
- Report all suspected monkeypox cases to Public Health immediately. Additional information is available on the KDPH website.
Public Health officials say that monkeypox typically begins with a flu-like illness that includes fevers and lymph node swelling about 5-21 days after exposure. One to three days after, a painful rash or lesions may follow, usually starting on the face.
They say the illness can be spread from skin-to-skin contact with body fluids, sores or contaminated items like clothes. It can also be spread through exposure to respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact.
According to reports, monkeypox typically lasts anywhere from two to four weeks with people considered contagious from exposure, to when the rash is gone and the skin has healed.
Health officials are encouraging the public to be diligent in order to avoid this illness.
People who have symptoms of monkeypox, particularly the characteristic rash or lesions, should take the following steps:
- Visit a medical provider for an evaluation.
- Cover the area of the rash with clothing.
- Wear a mask.
- Avoid skin-to-skin, or close contact with others.