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There's a third case of monkeypox in Salt Lake County. Here's what you need to know

As health authorities in Europe and elsewhere roll out vaccines and drugs to stamp out the biggest monkeypox outbreak beyond Africa, in 2022, some doctors are acknowledging an ugly reality: The resources to slow the disease’s spread have long been available, just not to the Africans who have dealt with it for decades.

As health authorities in Europe and elsewhere roll out vaccines and drugs to stamp out the biggest monkeypox outbreak beyond Africa, in 2022, some doctors are acknowledging an ugly reality: The resources to slow the disease’s spread have long been available, just not to the Africans who have dealt with it for decades. (CDC via Associated Press)



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — There's a third case of monkeypox in Utah.

The case was confirmed last Friday in a Salt Lake County resident who, like the two previous cases identified in the county, became infected during international travel, the Salt Lake County Health Department said, adding that the person is in isolation and does not present a risk to the community.

"Since this case was also acquired during international travel, it doesn't really change the risk to Salt Lake County residents; we have not identified any local transmission," Nicholas Rupp, county health department spokesman, told the Deseret News on Tuesday.

The "handful of contacts" the person had before being diagnosed have been alerted and are monitoring themselves for symptoms of the virus that continues to spread around the country and the world, a post by the county health department said.

Currently, 244 monkeypox cases have been confirmed throughout the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The World Health Organization announced Monday there have been more than 4,300 cases in 48 countries, mostly in Europe.

Although the WHO has yet to declare monkeypox a global health emergency, the agency's director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said he is "deeply concerned about the monkeypox outbreak, this is clearly an evolving health threat that my colleagues and I in the WHO Secretariat are following extremely closely," Reuters reported.

Monkeypox, part of the orthopoxvirus family of viruses that includes smallpox, had been largely confined to parts of Africa and transmitted through human contact with infected animals, but now appears to be spreading human to human as well as through contact with bedding and other infected materials.

Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion and swollen lymph nodes, along with a rash that turns into fluid-filled pustules, which scab over and fall off. Many of the infections reported are in men who have had sex with men, but monkeypox can be spread through other types of prolonged, close contact.

Rupp said infectious diseases like monkeypox "can transmit more quickly and easily in close social networks, and in the monkeypox outbreak internationally, that currently happens to be occurring among men who have sex or other intimate contact with men."

But, he said "it's important to be clear that anyone who has close contact with an infected person can get monkeypox, so everyone should avoid close, sexual or intimate contact with someone with symptoms, such a new, unexplained rash."

Anyone who notices symptoms, "particularly after close or skin-to-skin contact with someone," should see a medical provider, Rupp said.

More than a month ago, two probable cases of monkeypox were identified in Salt Lake County, in two adults living in the same household within the county. The pair started showing symptoms after traveling to Europe earlier in May to an area with monkeypox cases.

The cases, later confirmed by the CDC, were described as mild and the isolation of what federal authorities said were two men ended in late May or early June. The county health department has released little information about those infected in Utah, citing medical privacy laws.

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Lisa Riley Roche

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