Officials say two suspicious cases have been reported in Salt Lake County

Salt Lake County Health Department officials said Monday morning that two adults in the same house in Salt Lake County were suspected of having a monkey disease as a result of a preliminary examination.

The two infected people went to an area of ​​Europe “currently suffering from smallpox” from Europe earlier this month and then became symptomatic, district health officials advised.

“Both men are isolated and do not pose a threat to the public,” officials said in a statement. “They are suffering from a mild illness and are completely cured.”

Dr. Angela Dunn, executive director of the Salt Lake County Department of Health, said Monday that the infected couple went to a primary care doctor on Friday and needed to be isolated.

According to Dunn, within 24 hours, health officials learned that the couple had a type of orthopoxvirus – a family of viruses that included monkeys and smallpox. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is testing samples to confirm the diagnosis of monkey disease, Dunn said.

No further details were released on Monday about two people infected; Employees of the district health department referred to medical confidentiality laws.

exposure concerns

District officials said Utah’s public health system “did not pose a threat to the community because of these potential incidents.”

Officials said the risk of any danger was limited to people who were “in direct, close contact” with infected couples instead, the official said.

According to the report, county and state health officials will be in touch with these close contacts and expect to reach them all on Monday.

At a news conference Monday morning, Dunn urged Euthanas not to panic.

“It is easily transmitted from person to person. We are not talking about COVID here, ”he said. “Actually direct contact with people with monkey pox and it’s spreading like that now.”

What experts know about monkey smallpox

Smallpox is a rare disease commonly found in Central and West Africa, but health officials have recently identified the disease in Europe and North America.

These cases – along with two suspected cases identified in Salt Lake County on Monday – were found in people who had not recently traveled to Africa, Dunn said, adding that the disease has a “new, sustainable spread” among people outside the continent. considered “endemic” or found regularly.

Last week, Salt Lake County health officials contacted regional doctors about the increase in the number of monkey cases, and Dunn said Utah doctors knew what to look for when Salt Lake County couples came and ordered isolation.

In humans, smallpox can cause flu-like symptoms For example, fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes, Salt Lake County health officials advised. People infected with monkeys often develop rashes on their face, which spread to other parts of the body and then turn into rashes filled with a fluid called “chickenpox.”

“Smallpox” sores usually cause scabies before they fall off. The infection can last from two to four weeks. People are not infected until symptoms appear, Dunn said.

On Sunday, President Joe Biden said “safety is needed” in connection with the recently identified monkey disease in Europe and North America.

According to the World Health Organization, as of Saturday, there were about 100 confirmed cases in “non-endemic countries” around the world. As of Monday, such cases were detected in England, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Belgium, France, Canada and Australia.

According to Dunn, Jutans should visit a doctor if he has recently visited an area where monkeys have been diagnosed, or if he has been in close contact with someone who has symptoms, and then if he develops symptoms.

How monkeypox usually spreads

It is not known if smallpox spreads easily to humans, Dunn said, and the infection is usually not accidental.

Instead, human-to-human transmission is most often through direct contact with body fluids, including smallpox, as well as semen and / or vaginal fluid.

This means that the virus can be sexually transmitted, but it can also be spread by touching someone’s clothes or bedding with body fluids or other infectious materials.

Individuals can also catch smallpox through “long-term, close face-to-face contact”; Dunn said Monday that the “long” connection is expected to be close to three hours.

Dunn said current international affairs are spreading “especially among men who are gay or have sex with men (MSM).” The Utah Department of Health is working with community partners ahead of Utah Pride Week to teach participants how to take risks and protect themselves, but the spread is not limited to gender or sexuality, the CDC advised that in some cases registered in-room occupants. people living in the family.

Officials say it usually takes seven to 14 days for someone to start showing symptoms after a monkey becomes infected with smallpox, but that can take anywhere from five to 21 days.

There is currently no proven, safe treatment for smallpox in monkeys, but limited evidence suggests that smallpox treatment may be beneficial, officials said.

Dunn said the county has a stockpile of smallpox vaccine and can be treated. Most people recover without any treatment.

If you are planning an international trip soon

Salt Lake County health officials have advised Utah residents planning an international trip to refer to the CDC’s current recommendations for smallpox and other infectious diseases.

These recommendations include washing your hands frequently and thoroughly; avoid contact with animals; and avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of monkey smallpox or other illness.

People planning to travel internationally should check to see if they are up to date on the recommended vaccinations and if they are aware of the health risks at their destination.

You can schedule an appointment with the Salt Lake County Department of Health Travel Clinic at 385-468-4111. There are similar tourist clinics in Davis and Utah.

For more information on monkeys, visit CDC.gov/monkeypox.

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