First case of reported monkeypox in Alaska

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Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 3:03 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The first case of monkeypox has been reported in Alaska on Friday, according to the Alaska Department of Health.

A press release states the first person infected is an Anchorage resident. According to the release, the person did not require hospitalization and is isolating at home. The agency also says the infected person had not traveled, but was a close contact of another individual who had recently traveled outside Alaska.

The Alaska section of epidemiology is continuing its work to identify people who may have been exposed to monkeypox in Alaska.

Monkeypox is a virus and transmission is possible through different ways, which includes: prolonged skin-to-skin contact, direct contact with contaminated items such as bedding, or clothing, or prolonged face-to-face contact.

The health department says while anyone can get or spread the infection, most cases have occurred among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, however there have been cases in women and children too.

Symptoms typically start with flu-like symptoms within one to two weeks of exposure, followed by a rash. In some cases, people only develop a rash. People who are infected with Monkeypox are typically sick for two to four weeks.

While most people who contract the illness develop a rash, the rash is not always visible, nor does it cover the whole body. The rash will often develop in a discreet, isolated area on the body, according to Dr. Joe McLaughlin with the Alaska Department of Health.

Currently, vaccination for the general public is not recommended and vaccines are being prioritized for those who have potentially had close contact with someone having monkeypox in the last two weeks.

If you experience monkeypox symptoms, an unexplained rash, or think you might have been exposed to the virus, the health department urges you to contact your health provider right away.

As of Thursday, July 28, 2022, confirmed monkeypox cases have been reported in 46 other states.

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