West Virginia (WOAY)- The World Health Organization recently declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency, the organization’s highest alert. In the U.S., every state except Wyoming and Montana has reported at least one case. The Department of Health and Human Resources has identified one case in West Virginia as of July 8.
Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health, Dr. Ayne Amjad, states “The threat to West Virginians from monkeypox is extremely low.” Dr. Amjad also reports that the illness is containable when symptoms are treated as soon as possible. Monkeypox symptoms include a blister-like rash, fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, and exhaustion.
Monkeypox is transmitted by close contact with infected individuals and infected body fluids. The illness is also spread through contact with infected materials and surfaces. While vaccines are available to prevent and decrease illness severity through the CDC, they are limited to individuals with a high risk of contact. Additionally, there is an antiviral treatment available for patients who have monkeypox.
The U.S. is working to distribute more monkeypox vaccines to the public. Health regulators recently approved 800,000 vaccines for public use after passing a Food and Drug Administration inspection. DHHR recommends that West Virginia residents concerned about fever and any new unexplainable rashes contact their local health care provider for evaluation.
Health care providers can request orthopoxvirus testing on behalf of their patients by contacting their local health department or DHHR’s Office of Epidemiology and Prevention Services at 304-558-5358. For more information about monkeypox, visit https://oeps.wv.gov./monkeypox.